A newborn sea otter is being treated at the Alaska SeaLife Center after being rescued from Kachemak Bay.

The female pup was seen floating alone on April 9 by fishermen who called the center, according to a news release from the Alaska SeaLife Center. After getting permission from U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Homer volunteers brought the otter to Seward. Staff at the SeaLife Center say the female pup still had an umbilical cord attached, which meant she could be around a day old.

The center said it is rare for staff to treat such a young pup.

"About 10% of the sea otters admitted to the Center are younger than a week old," said director of animal health, Dr. Carrie Goertz, "but only a few are about a day old.”

Courtesy Alaska SeaLife Center

One challenge of caring for the 3-pound otter is getting her to bottle feed. Staff first used a syringe to control how much formula she got.

“Usually the young pups catch on pretty quick, but it can take them a few days,” said wildlife response curator Jane Belovarac.

 

The pup is now being fed a bottle every two hours while she receives round-the-clock care.

According to the release, along with being one of the youngest animals taken in by the Wildlife Response program, the otter pup is the first stranded animal the center has admitted this year.

Although people's instinct is to take care of pups they see in the wild, that could be a mistake. The SeaLife Center stated pups are often left while parents forage for food but will abandon their young if people or pets are around when they return. If you see an animal that may have been abandoned, you can call 1-888-774-SEAL.

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