Sea otter pup rescued by plane in Homer despite Swan Lake Fire
A sea otter pup got a helping hand from Alaska SeaLife Center when the Swan Lake Fire began complicating a remarkable rescue. The SeaLife Center said they got the word about the pup Sunday afternoon.
Strong currents left the otter stuck on rocks in Homer but ASLC staff couldn't get reach the stranded animal because of road closures on the Sterling Highway from the Swan Lake Fire.
Staff then came together with the community and local pilot Duke Marolf, who flew a plane for free to get to the otter pup.
The Homer Veterinary Clinic took care of the pup overnight until a Sarah McMillen, a veterinary tech, and Marolf could fly the young sea otter into Seward Airport. McMillen held the girl pup swaddled in a towel like a baby during the flight.
There have only been a few animal drop-offs in Seward Airport's 20-year history, ASLC said.
The SeaLife Center estimates the pup is only 3 weeks old, weighing in at five pounds. She arrived at the airport safely. Staff say they're optimistic about the otter's health. They also say she has been learning to feed on a bottle.
"We always work to get otter pups on a bottle as quickly as possible," Wildlife Response Curator, Jane Belovarac said. "It's important they receive all the medications and nutrients they require, and a bottle is the most natural alternative for them."
This rescued pup is now the sixth otter rescued by the Alaska SeaLife Center. ASLC says young otters need around-the-clock care and are dependent on their mothers for about six months.
Anyone with concerns about an animal can call the 24-hour hotline for marine mammals in distress at 1-888-774-SEAL.
ASLC said in their post they will share a video update about how the otter is doing later this week.
Copyright KTVA 2019. All rights reserved.
MORE KTVA NEWS: