Sea otter, 23, dies at Chicago`s Shedd Aquarium - New York News

Sea otter, 23, dies at Chicago`s Shedd Aquarium

Posted: Updated:
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The first sea otter that the Shedd Aquarium raised from infancy and the oldest in any North American zoo or aquarium, Kachemak, had to be euthanized because she suffered the afflictions of old age: severe arthritis in her spine and hips that interfered with her nerves, making it difficult for her to move around or even relieve herself.

"We concluded it was going to be impossible to keep her functioning at a high quality of life without continual medications," said Aquarium spokeswoman Andrea Smalec.

Kachemak was 23 years and 6 months old, compared with the 12- to 15-year expected life span for sea otters in the wild, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The Shedd has set up a memorial on its Facebook page — https://www.facebook.com/sheddaquarium — for those who want to post their thoughts and remembrances.

Kachemak, who was euthanized Saturday, got special attention from the start.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had found Kachemak orphaned and stranded on a beach along Kachemak Bay in Alaska, on May 23, 1990, and brought her to the Shedd. She got to ride in the cockpit of a cargo jet on the Anchorage-to-Chicago flight because she needed constant care.

When she arrived at the Shedd Aquarium as a 6-pound, 6-month-old pup, her caregivers built a special pup rehab space just for her in the aquarium's original galleries, said Ken Ramirez, executive vice president of animal care and training.

Kachemak grew into a 45-pound, 5-foot-long otter.

"For those of us who remember a tiny fluffball with ear-piercing vocalizations, it's hard to believe that Kachemak is now a senior citizen," former otter team leader Indya Watts said before the euthanization.

Yet Kachemak provided scientists with information to the very end — about geriatric sea otters, including diet, immune systems and blood test results.

The Shedd now has four sea otters — females Cayucos, age 2; Mari and Kiana, both 8 years old, and the sole male, Yaku, age 13.

Follow Us!

Share Your Photos & Video

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • God's Love We Deliver virtual bake sale for birthday cakes

    God's Love We Deliver virtual bake sale for birthday cakes

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:36 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:36:46 GMT
    God's Love We Deliver provides meals to people in the New York City area who are too sick to shop and cook for themselves. Clients also receive birthday cards that are decorated by local school students. Sometimes a cake is the only birthday gift that God's Love's clients will receive.
    God's Love We Deliver provides meals to people in the New York City area who are too sick to shop and cook for themselves. Clients also receive birthday cards that are decorated by local school students. Sometimes a cake is the only birthday gift that God's Love's clients will receive.
  • Success Academy students waiting for word on new locations

    Success Academy students waiting for word on new locations

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:58 PM EDT2014-04-23 21:58:48 GMT
    The mayor's office is saying one thing. The charter schools another. It is a lot of he said, she said. The bottom line is that right now the future of three charter schools is still unclear. Jennifer Duran is afraid because she doesn't know where her two children are going to school next year. Both kids attend success academy Harlem 4, one of three charter schools that still does not have a set location. The other two charters are Success Academy Jamaica in Queens and Success Academy City Hall.
    The mayor's office is saying one thing. The charter schools another. It is a lot of he said, she said. The bottom line is that right now the future of three charter schools is still unclear. Jennifer Duran is afraid because she doesn't know where her two children are going to school next year. Both kids attend success academy Harlem 4, one of three charter schools that still does not have a set location. The other two charters are Success Academy Jamaica in Queens and Success Academy City Hall.
  • Connecticut man charged in Yale hoax threat

    Connecticut man charged in Yale hoax threat

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-04-23 19:33:11 GMT
    New Haven police say they have charged a Westbrook with making a hoax call in November to say an armed man was heading to shoot up Yale University.
    Police say they have charged a Connecticut man with making a call in November in which he falsely claimed an armed man was on his way to shoot up Yale University. New Haven police said Wednesday that 50-year-old Jeffrey Jones, of Westbrook, has been charged with falsely reporting an incident, threatening, reckless endangerment, misuse of the emergency 911 system and breach of peace.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices