Friday, March 10, 2017
Hugh's Aquarium Views Video Number 27
A special otter celebrated a special birthday this month.
Charlie is a Southern Sea Otter who just turned 20 years old. His life resume is very impressive. Here are a few examples.
He is the oldest Southern Sea Otter under human care. Most sea otter generally live only into their teens.
He was the first sea otter to be trained to do a voluntary blood draw. Up to that time sea otters had to be sedated to allow blood samples to be drawn from them. Charlie was trained to allow blood to be drawn from his body while fully awake.
All the data on Southern sea otter hearing comes from him. Charlie was temporarily transferred to Longs Marine Lab for a very important sea otter hearing research project. He was trained to voluntarily participate in audio perception tests, both above and below the water. The data gather may benefit all the Southern sea otters along the West Coast as it increased the knowledge base of their physiology.
Of course my favorite is that Charlie is the first otter as far as I know to use a selfie stick to take a self portrait. Though the task itself is not profound scientifically, it was a fun enrichment project for Charlie and me to do together.
Charlie came to the Aquarium of the Pacific the same month that I started volunteering there in 1998. Back then I had little idea just how impressive his life would become. I once gave him the title of the Most Interesting Otter in the World because of all that he had done. Not bad for a sea otter that was orphaned as a newborn pup.
On March 2nd, 2017 Charlie celebrated his 20th birthday. Check out the video of Aquarium guests and staff singing Happy Birthday to him. You can also see the selfie that he took of himself a while back.
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