Want to see something cute this weekend? What about a new otter friend at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma?

A 10-year-old Southern sea otter who was rescued and rehabilitated at Monterey Bay Aquarium has joined the “raft” of sea otters at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, a zoo news release stated

 Moea (pronounced Mia) brings the number of sea otters who call the zoo’s Rocky Shores habitat home to three.

“She is getting along swimmingly with Northern sea otter Sekiu, 6, and Southern sea otter Libby, 7,” the news release stated.
Staff at Monterey Bay Aquarium originally rescued Moea as a stranded otter tainted with oil from a spill, rehabilitated her and returned her to the wild. But the little otter seemed to prefer the company of humans and returned. Her affinity for people and penchant for seeking them out could pose a danger to her in the wild. As a result, she will remain in human care and is non-releasable.
“We are thrilled that Moea is now a part of our Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium family,” stated Malia Somerville, curator of marine mammals and birds, in the zoo news release. “Providing a second chance for rescued animals is one way zoos and aquariums can help save species.”

The zoo is a member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for sea otters. Keepers describe Moea as calm, confident and say she loves her breakfast.

Following some time behind-the-scenes and a wellness exam by Associate Veterinarian Dr. Kadie Anderson, keepers worked to gradually introduce Moea to Libby and Sekiu, and get all three otters comfortable with each other.

Now, Moea’s fully settled into her new home.

“She’s a pretty easy-going and calm otter, confident around her caregivers and curious to explore her habitat,” Somerville stated in the news release. “She enjoys her food and enrichment.”

 Libby also is a rescued otter. She came to Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium from Monterey Bay Aquarium in 2011 when she was only a few months old. She was just 24 hours old when found abandoned.  Sekiu, who will be 7 on Jan. 14, was born at Seattle Aquarium in 2012 to mother Aniak, who also was born there, and father Adaa, a rescued sea otter.
None of the three otters at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is releasable to the wild.

For more information, go to www.pdza.org.