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Ollie the Otter’s Schooling Continues

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Volunteering | Mammals

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hugh

Ollie the sea otter is progressing nicely in her school work at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Her training continues with husbandry behaviors designed to help in her care and well-being.

Ollie is getting the hang of the learning routine that Caitlin and the other mammalogists are putting her through. She is becoming more consistent in coming out of the water when asked. She’s also getting better at going back into the water when asked although sometimes she may take a round-about way to get there.

One husbandry behavior that she’s becoming good at is tactile training. Our pinnipeds and otters at the Aquarium of the Pacific are all taught to allow the staff to touch them. This “tactile” behavior enables the staff to fully check over an animal’s body to assist in their care. Ollie, being a people-oriented otter from the start, is almost fully comfortable in having her trainers touch her fur during a training session. After all these are the same folks that helped groom her when she was too young to do it herself just a few months ago!

She’s adapting so well to the training that her caretakers are giving her that they have already added a more advanced behavior to her learning list. Ollie is being taught how to enter a transport kennel when asked. Perfecting this behavior will make it easier when she makes the big move to the main exhibit in the future. For now though Ollie seems to be as interested in inspecting every part of the kennel as she is in entering it as evident in one of the accompanying photographs. She’s still a young, curious, and lovable sea otter at heart.

Ollie the Otter’s Schooling Continues
Using a whistle as a "bridge" and pieces of clam and shrimp as reward mammalogist Caitlin leads Ollie the sea otter through a training session.  | Hugh Ryono
Ollie the Otter’s Schooling Continues
Ollie inspects the door of a transport kennel.  | Hugh Ryono
Ollie the Otter’s Schooling Continues
Mammalogist Caitlin training Ollie to enter the water when asked. The humorous caption that I have for this image on my Facebook page is: Caitlin: "Water!" Ollie: "Why yes it is!"  | Hugh Ryono
Ollie the Otter’s Schooling Continues
Ollie, the once orphaned sea otter pup, really seems to enjoy her schooling. The ultimate goal of these training sessions is to assist in the care and well-being of this lovable little otter.  | Hugh Ryono

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Laura

Friday, February 18, 2011 12:53 PM

Thanks for the update.  It’s terrific to hear that Ollie is doing so well.

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Hugh

Friday, February 18, 2011 11:31 PM

Ollie is a joy to be around and I love watching and documenting her growing up!

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Danon

Friday, February 25, 2011 09:21 PM

This blog is a ton of fun. I recently went to a Sea Life Aquarium in the mall here in AZ and it makes me wish we had something as fun as sea otters and exhibits like this.

Great blog and great update

All blogs and comments represent the views of the individual authors and not necessarily those of the Aquarium.

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