The Oregon Coast Aquarium is saddened to announce the passing of Nuka, the Aquarium’s resident northern sea otter. Nuka passed following an emergency veterinary procedure, which was carried out after staff observed atypical behavior and physical symptoms. The exact cause of Nuka’s passing is unknown at this time; a full necropsy will be performed to gain further insight. Nuka was just shy of turning 10 years old; in nature, sea otters typically live into their early to mid-teens. Under human care, they can live into their late teens or early twenties.
Nuka the northern sea otter
Mammalogist Moorea worked with Nuka at Alaska Sealife Center, and she was part of the transport that brought him to OCAq. Years later, Moorea had the opportunity to work with Nuka again after she joined the OCAq team. Nuka was originally found stranded on a beach in Kodiak, Alaska, in June 2013. Severely malnourished and only three months old, he was taken to Alaska SeaLife Center for care, and was subsequently deemed non-releasable. He came to his forever home at the Aquarium in February 2014. While the name Nuka means younger sibling in the Inuit language, he was the largest of the Aquarium’s sea otter raft, weighing between 60 and 70 pounds. Despite his size, he never claimed the role of dominant otter, and was known for his relaxed attitude. He leaves behind fellow sea otters Oswald, Schuster, and Earle. Information and photo provided by Oregon Coast Aquarium.