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Luna the Orphaned Sea Otter
by KindMeal.my, 24 March 2015
Luna was found orphaned on Coastways Beach in California on September 30th, 2014. A beachgoer heard the otter pups cries and scientists intervened when they determined she had been separated from her mom for at least sixteen hours. She was only a few days old and weighed just 2lbs.

Luna was the 681st sea otter rescued and rehabilitated at Monterey Bay Aquarium. She arrived at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, her new home, on October 28th weighing 6 lbs.

Orphaned sea otter pups require round-the-clock care, including bottle feeding. Up to eight Shedd animal care experts provide 24 hour care, seven days a week.

Shedd marine mammal experts must "play mom” and teach Luna to groom herself and forage for food. Having spent so little time in the wild, Luna would not survive if returned to the Pacific. Luckily Shedd will provide a cozy and activity-filled home.

After the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, Shedd took in many orphaned pups. They are now experts in sea otter care.

In the wild, mother sea otters lick their pup’s fur until it is puffed-up full of air so they float on the waves! At Shedd, the staff grooms Luna, especially those hard to reach spots.

In the wild, mother sea otters wrap their pup’s in strands of kelp to keep them from floating away when they forage! The Shedd team provides Luna with “kelp,” which is actually car wish strips. They hold up better than real kelp under her constant chewing and playing!

The team must teach Luna to forage with the help of dog toys and children’s toys! They fill a KONG with treats and Luna dives for it at the bottom of the pool.

Check out Luna and other cute otters at Shedd's website:

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