Aquarium to celebrate otters’ birthday party

Zhoosh is a 13-year-old male otter. Great Lakes Aquarium

Zhoosh is a 13-year-old male otter. Great Lakes Aquarium

It’s been a big year for the North American river otters at Great Lakes Aquarium. They shared some moments in the national spotlight, became renowned artists, and now they’re celebrating milestone birthdays.

Great Lakes Aquarium is hosting a birthday party for its otters on Saturday, March 2 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Anang, a female otter, is celebrating her Sweet 16. Zhoosh, a male, will be 13.

Activities and special events include crafts for kids, visits with the otter mascots, an art exhibit showcasing the otters’ paintings, otter cake time and complimentary cake for guests. Each guest who brings a gift for the otters from their Wish List receives $3 off their admission on March 2 (Wish List is available for download at glaquarium.org). One discounted admission per person, per gift. Otherwise, regular admission rates apply. GLA members are free.

Schedule of events

11 a.m. — Isle Royal Dive Show
Noon — Otter Snack Time
1 p.m. — Otter Stories and activity
2 p.m. — Otter Cake Time
3 p.m. — Behind-the-Scenes Tour (Space is limited; purchase tickets at front desk)
4 p.m. — Freshwater Stingray Feeding

About the Otters

Anang is a 16-year-old female North American River Otter found orphaned in Florida. She came to GLA from Sea World at age 2 ½. Her companion, Zhoosh, is a 13-year-old male otter originally from the state of Virginia who was also found motherless. A wildlife rehabilitator helped him recover from pneumonia, and then personally transported him to GLA in 2000. Their birth months are January and March respectively.

“Because the otters were orphaned so young, they don’t have all the skills necessary to survive on their own in the wild,” said Sarah Erickson, director of education at the Aquarium. “You are unlikely to get very close to otters if you’re out and about on local waters. Having the otters here provides them with a home while giving the public a chance to learn more about these fascinating animals and their habitat.”

According to Erickson, North American River Otters live to be 8-10 years old in the wild. In zoos and aquariums, these otters can live to be 15-20 years old. This is due in part, she said, to regular veterinary care, balanced diets, and the fact that they are not reproducing.

Great Lakes Aquarium is among the only freshwater aquariums in the U.S. Located on Duluth’s waterfront, it is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Aquarium features animals and ecosystems from the Great Lakes Basin and around the world.

Source: Great Lakes Aquarium press release

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