Rescued Sea Otter at the WCS New York Aquarium Makes His Public Debut

Tazo settles into his new home in the Sea Cliffs exhibit

View the video at: http://www.youtube.com/w atch?v=J81JrW4Kf64

Brooklyn, New York – June 9, 2011 – The Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium is happy to announce that Tazo, an orphaned northern sea otter pup found stranded last summer in Alaska, has rehabilitated at the aquarium and is ready to make his public debut.

“We’re very excited to finally introduce Tazo to our visitors,” said Jon Forrest Dohlin, WCS Vice President and Director of the New York Aquarium.” His adorable demeanor has delighted our staff behind the scenes over the last several months, but now it’s time for him to call his exhibit home and meet the public.”

Tazo was about three weeks old when he was found stranded after being separated from his mother during a storm. He was in excellent physical condition but scared and confused without his mother. The Alaska Sea Life Center took Tazo in for one month and provided initial care before he made his permanent move to WCS’s New York Aquarium.

Since last August, keepers and animal department staff worked round the clock shifts at the aquarium’s Aquatic Animal Health Center to make sure Tazo was nursed and groomed on schedule and that his first efforts at swimming and diving were safe. He is now fully rehabilitated.

Keepers say Tazo has a great personality. He is playful, curious, and enjoys being the center of attention. Much of his time is spent playing with toys such as rubber tire biters and frozen treats.

Tazo lives in the aquarium’s Sea Cliffs exhibit with Jacob, a southern sea otter. Northern and southern sea otters are similar in many ways, but southern sea otters are considered a threatened species, native to coastal areas of California. Northern sea otters can be found off the coast of Canada and Alaska.

Tazo’s native Alaska has many fragile lands that WCS works to protect. Sea ice is melting, earlier springs are shifting migratory calendars and nesting habits for some birds, and some Arctic regions are drying significantly, affecting wildlife that depend on fertile Arctic wetlands for sustenance.

WCS is the only conservation group with a long-term, on-the-ground presence in Arctic Alaska. WCS is working to monitor climate change, assessing how sea ice is fading from this region, and studying how these changes endanger polar bears and other wildlife. In addition, WCS researchers study species such as the musk oxen to understand why some populations are in decline.

WCS was instrumental in passing the North Pacific Fur Seal Treaty of 1911, the first international treaty for wildlife conservation.

Video Credit: Luke Groskin © WCS

Contact:
Barbara Russo: 718-265-3428; brusso@wcs.org
Max Pulsinelli:  718-220-5182; mpulsinelli@wcs.org
Steve Fairchild: 718-220-5189; sfairchild@wcs.org


Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium opens every day of the year at 10am, and closing times vary seasonally. Admission is $14.95 for adults, $10.95 for children ages 3-12 and $11.95 for senior citizens (65 and older); children under 3 years of age are admitted free. A limited-time Thrills and Gills combo ticket can be purchased online at www.nyaquarium.com or www.lunaparknyc.com, offering a combined 20 percent reduced admission at both attractions; combo tickets can be purchased through July 31. Fridays after 3pm, admission is by suggested donation. The Aquarium is located on Surf Avenue at West 8th Street in Coney Island. For directions, information on public events and programs, and other Aquarium information, call 718-265-FISH or visit our web site at http://www.nyaquarium.com. Now is the perfect time to visit and show support for the New York Aquarium, Brooklyn's most heavily attended attraction and a beloved part of the City of New York.


The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.


Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a Web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to wcs.org.

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