(Photos by TiffanyBoothe, Seaside Aquarium)
The Seaside Aquarium got a call about a live stranded sea otter on the south end of Manzanita beach on Monday afternoon about 4 pm, April 5th. The otter was lethargic and showing signs of possible neurological issues. The sea otter was taken back to the Seaside Aquarium and transferred to a rehab center up in Washington. Unfortunately, the sea otter did not make it. A necropsy will be performed but it is thought that the animal was suffering from a protozoal infection.
This is the first live sea otter the Seaside Aquarium has ever responded to. Sea otters were once quite common off the Oregon Coast but due to intense hunting from the fur trade they were wiped out and pronounced extinct in the early 1900’s. Previous efforts to reintroduce sea otters on the Oregon Coast have failed but there is a group currently working on a plan to once again reintroduce sea otters to Oregon. Sea otters reside in both Alaska, California, and Washington State.
The Marine Mammal Stranding Network responds to sightings of seal pups and other injured or dead marine mammals (including whales or dolphins). Responders will act as quickly as possible to assess the situation and obtain information and observations about the animal in question.
For the northern Oregon and southern Washington coast the Seaside Aquarium is the local responder for the Marine Mammal Stranding Network and can be contacted at 503.738.6211. If a stranded marine mammal is found elsewhere the Marine Mammal Hotline at 1.800.452.7888 and they will contact the appropriate stranding network responder for the area.