Shedd’s new otter

Although she won’t be in a public exhibit for a few more months, 10-week-old southern sea otter pup Cuyucos has already won Chicago’s hearts. Cuyucos is the latest addition to the sea otter family at Shedd Aquarium, where she was brought after being rescued off the California coastline she has been named after. Wildlife rescuers found Cuyucos abandoned and calling for her mother in mid-December and she has been at Shedd since early January. A member of the California sea otter population, Cuyucos is a threatened species, with fewer than 3,000 of her kind left.

Cayucos is currently under a 30-day quarantine but will soon be introduced to the five Alaskan otters at Shedd, beginning with the females. Until then, she is getting plenty of attention from over a dozen Shedd staffers, who make sure she is cared for around the clock.

Lana Vanagasem, Senior Trainor at Shedd, said the otter pup has many of the same needs as a human baby. Cuyucos has seven feedings a day, with a diet of formula, clam, shrimp, squid and pollock.

In between feeds, she loves to play both in and out of the water and naps throughout the day. With the help of staffers, she is learning how to groom herself and dive for food.

And although she is young, Cuyucos has already begun some basic training exercises.

Look for Cayucos this summer in the sea otter exhibit at Shedd Aquarium.

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