It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that our sea otter Charlie passed away this morning.
Charlie turned twenty-two years old on March 2 and was the oldest living southern sea otter at any zoo or aquarium. Known for his intelligence and easy-going disposition, Charlie could often be seen sucking his paw while relaxing on exhibit.
In addition to his role as an animal ambassador living at the Aquarium, Charlie also contributed to scientific research.
He was the first otter in the world to give a voluntary blood sample without sedation. And from 2011 to 2013 he participated in a study of how sea otters perceive sound at the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Long Marine Lab. The study’s results could inform decisions made by government agencies regarding ocean noise. Charlie was selected for the study in part because of the behavioral training he had received at the Aquarium. To participate, Charlie learned to enter a specialized acoustic testing environment, listen for sound signals, and respond to the researchers, notifying them whether or not he had heard the sound by touching his nose to a target or remaining still.
On Sunday, April 28, Charlie’s fans and supporters are welcome to fill out a card at the Aquarium in his memory that will hang from the railing at the Sea Otter Habitat all day.
To learn more about Charlie, please visit https://pacific.to/aopcharlie