'An otter success': Sea otter pup bonds with geriatric habitat mate at Oregon Zoo
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon Zoo’s young orphaned sea otter pup Lincoln is hanging out with his elderly habitat companion Eddie after the duo met for the first time over the weekend.
Staff hopes the playful pairing will keep the 20-year-old Eddie (who is considered “ultra-geriatric” for a sea otter) active in his golden years.
Lincoln and Eddie have a shared history, as both came to the Oregon Zoo as orphans found along the California coastline.
Lincoln recently turned six months old and has mostly spent time with Juno, the zoo’s other adult sea otter.
Lincoln met Eddie over the weekend, and after briefly checking eachother out, zoo officials say they dove into a playful wrestling session.
“We thought Lincoln might avoid Eddie at first,” said Nicole Nicassio-Hiskey, the zoo’s senior marine life keeper. “But the exact opposite happened. He swam directly over to Eddie and went right up to him.”
Even though Lincoln has grown to weigh 28 pounds since arriving at the zoo, he is still small compared to the nearly 70-lb. Eddie.
“Having a youngster around should be rejuvenating for Eddie,” Nicassio-Hiskey said. “Male sea otters seldom live past 15 years, so Eddie’s among the oldest of his kind. Lincoln is definitely faster than he is. They’ll play and wrestle for a while, then Eddie will get tired and go take a nap in his ice pool. We have a lot of really old animals here, so we focus quite a bit on geriatric care.”
More from the Oregon Zoo:
Sea otters are considered a keystone species and a play critical role in the Pacific Coast marine ecosystem, promoting healthy kelp forests, which in turn support thousands of organisms. Though currently protected from hunting by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, sea otters continue to be threatened by oil spills, fishing nets and diseases.
You can learn more about the Oregon Zoo’s sea otters and how to help protect the species in the wild online.