ASLC animal care specialist Maddie Welch cares for otter pup patient Qialk at the Alaska SeaLIfe Center. (Photo Credit: Alaska SeaLife Center)

ASLC animal care specialist Maddie Welch cares for otter pup patient Qialk at the Alaska SeaLIfe Center. (Photo Credit: Alaska SeaLife Center)

Rescued otter pup finds new home in Chicago

Qilak was rescued by the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlife Response program in early September

Qilak, a sea otter pup rescued by the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlife Response program in early September, has been moved to a new home in Chicago, according to a press release from the Shedd Aquarium and the SeaLife Center.

Only 5 months old, Qilak is the third otter to arrive at the Shedd Aquarium this month, and now the sixth in residence, according to the release.

The otter was rescued on Sept. 7, after a caller to the center’s Wildlife Response hotline reported a pair of otters on a beach on the Kenai Peninsula. The pup, Qilak, was vocalizing on top of another otter who was barely moving. Staff determined the mother would not survive transport and recovered the pup. The mother was confirmed dead the next day.

In the roughly two months since, Qilak has been constantly monitored and treated. He was found to be underweight, but otherwise strong and alert. He was already eating solid foods, swimming, grooming and more. The release says that Shedd’s animal care team has been involved in the rehabilitation effort, sending “a rotating group of support staff to work alongside the SeaLife Center for around-the-clock-care.

The release says that SeaLife Center staff led the naming of the pup, Qilak, meaning “dome of the sky, the entire sky or heaven” in Inuit.

Qilak will remain “behind the scenes” for some time, as he “continues to reach milestones and build bonds with the animal care team and other otters at Shedd,” the release said.

More information about the Alaska SeaLife Center can be found at alaskasealife.org. More information about Shedd Aquarium can be found at sheddaquarium.org.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

Savannah Costner, animal care specialist at ASLC, and Katy Roxbury, animal care specialist at Shedd, observe Qilak as he explores enrichment items like toys, ice and more at ASLC. (Photo Credit: Shedd Aquarium)

Savannah Costner, animal care specialist at ASLC, and Katy Roxbury, animal care specialist at Shedd, observe Qilak as he explores enrichment items like toys, ice and more at ASLC. (Photo Credit: Shedd Aquarium)

Dr. Matt O’Connor, senior veterinarian at Shedd, and Katy Roxbury, animal care specialist at Shedd, observe Qilak in a pool habitat at ASLC. (Photo Credit: Shedd Aquarium)

Dr. Matt O’Connor, senior veterinarian at Shedd, and Katy Roxbury, animal care specialist at Shedd, observe Qilak in a pool habitat at ASLC. (Photo Credit: Shedd Aquarium)

Christy Sterling, supervisor of sea otters and penguins at Shedd, and Dr. Matt O’Connor, senior veterinarian at Shedd, feed Qilak as he acclimates in his new habitat behind-the-scenes at the aquarium. (Photo Credit: Shedd Aquarium)

Christy Sterling, supervisor of sea otters and penguins at Shedd, and Dr. Matt O’Connor, senior veterinarian at Shedd, feed Qilak as he acclimates in his new habitat behind-the-scenes at the aquarium. (Photo Credit: Shedd Aquarium)

Qilak the otter pup looks at the camera after a feeding session at the Alaska SeaLife Center. The otter pup was admitted as a patient on Sept. 7, 2022, after being found on top of his moribund mother. (Photo Credit: Alaska SeaLife Center)

Qilak the otter pup looks at the camera after a feeding session at the Alaska SeaLife Center. The otter pup was admitted as a patient on Sept. 7, 2022, after being found on top of his moribund mother. (Photo Credit: Alaska SeaLife Center)

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