September 15, 2010
September 15, 2010, Long Beach, CA—The Aquarium of the Pacific is mourning the loss of one of its most beloved animals, a sea otter named Summer. In 1998, she was found stranded off the Northern California coast. Wildlife officials determined she would not be able to survive in the wild due to an aliment that prevented her from keeping warm enough in the ocean. It was then that the Aquarium of the Pacific was asked to provide her permanent care and a home. Despite extensive efforts to diagnose it, experts were never able to determine the exact cause of Summer’s auto immune disease-like condition. She had been seen by countless specialists from otter experts outside of the Aquarium to veterinary dermatologists, and her samples had been evaluated by veterinary dermatopathologists from all over the world. Despite the exhaustive testing, the cause of her condition is still unknown. An immune mediated disease was suspected, but there are no specific tests for this type of disease in sea otters. “We never gave up hope in trying to diagnose and cure Summer. She was greatly loved, and this is a difficult time for staff. We will miss her and hope that a cure will be found to help other otters that may be living with this condition,” said Perry Hampton, Aquarium of the Pacific VP of animal husbandry. Over the past twelve years despite her condition, Summer had led a relatively healthy and apparently happy life with her exhibit mates. Recently, as she had begun to reach old age for a sea otter, her condition became more serious. There were signs that her organ functions were beginning to fail, and it was with heavy hearts that the Aquarium had decided that the most humane choice would be to euthanize her. Hours before the planned procedure, Summer had passed away on her own. Several Aquarium members and staff had known Summer since she arrived to the Aquarium in 1999 and had formed a special bond with her. She will be missed by many.