Our oldest sea otter, Kenai, arrived at Shedd on Halloween night 1989 along with three other pups that had been rescued from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Kenai is a very senior otter—she has the distinction of being one of the two remaining oil spill otters—but she is in good health and still enjoys training sessions and acting as a surrogate mother to some of the other otters.
Next to join Shedd was Kachemak, a pup found stranded on a beach in Homer, Alaska. Then-infant Kachemak arrived in 1990, sent to Shedd by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The otter who once needed constant care from our otter specialists and veterinarian is now a senior citizen, and she frequently hangs out with Kenai.
Yaku came to Shedd courtesy of the Seattle Aquarium in 2000. Tipping the scale at 80 pounds, Yaku is the biggest (and only) male in the sea otter habitat. Yaku is curious and playful, especially with females Mari and Kiana.
Mari and Kiana are Shedd’s two youngest sea otters. Both were rescued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as pups. Again, the service turned to Shedd for its expertise in raising these fragile babies. Mari, who has called Shedd home since 2003, is very attached to the trainers, while Kiana, who arrived in 2005, is quite the opposite. Mari is credited with being very inquisitive and keeping a keen eye on her surroundings, and Kiana would prefer to roughhouse with her favorite playmate, namely Yaku.
Stay tuned for more sea otter stories during Sea Otter Awareness Week.
̶ Posted by Kate Williams, web editor
The Shedd family was heartbroken to say goodbye to beloved sea otter Mari on Feb 8, 2018. Mari came to Shedd as a rescued pup and found a lifetime home at the aquarium. She served as an education ambassador for her species to millions of guests over the last 14 years, and she will be deeply missed. See our full tribute to Mari here.