January 31, 2012 at 10:30 AM
Aniak’s pup, the new baby sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium, is thriving. The pup has nearly doubled her weight to 6.3 pounds from her birth weight of 3.4 pounds on Jan. 17. The pup also has over the past several days begun some self grooming of her rear flippers and face using her front paws.
Aniak and her pup, cuddling this morning. Photo by CJ Casson, courtesy, Seattle Aquarium
She also is actively swimming, snorkeling on the surface with her face in the water or above it. She can’t yet dive, though, because her natal pelage — that lovely fluff all over her body — still makes her float like a cork.
Like her mother, the pup is a clam fan. She took her first solid food Jan. 30: a piece of of clam meat that she took immediately, chewed for a few minutes, then swallowed. She downed about a half-inch piece.
Over the weekend she also started playing with floating toys– boomer balls, Frisbees and Kongs –the aquarium staff have put out for Aniak and Lootas, the other otter in the exhibit. She likes to push the toys around with her front paws and bite them.
The aquarium is hosting a naming contest, Details will be announced on Tuesday, February 7th. People can vote for their favorite otter pup name from a list of 5 or so online at the aquarium’s web site.
There also are more photos of the pup on the aquarium’s Facebook page.
According to the Seattle Aquarium:
Pups start to lose the natal fluff between 6-10 weeks and then begin to dive below the surface and swim to the bottom.
At 8 weeks they are usually diving, swimming and hauling out with ease.
By about 11 weeks they are pounding objects on their chest, biting open shell food, grooming and rolling over sideways.
By 14-20 weeks they can roll forward while grooming.
By 20-24 weeks they are grooming themselves just like an adult; at roughly 24 weeks they are weaned.
Did you know the Seattle Aquarium has an otter cam where you can watch Aniak swim around with her pup? Have a look.
Aniak is the otter who looks like she’s swimming around with a football on her chest … that’s the pup. The other otter is Lootas.
January 30, 2012 at 7:00 AM
The Neptune Theatre at 7 p.m. Feb. 7 is hosting an evening of presentations on food, from foraging tips in the city to Dumpster diving, a history of the potato in Washington State, and several presentation on traditional foods, their gathering and use.
Short Takes: What the World Eats is a presentation of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in conjunction with its eponymous exhibit at the Burke until from Jan. 28. – June 10.
Dr. Melissa Poe of the Institute for Culture and Ecology will present on wild food foraging in the city. Such as on these rose hips, photographed by Poe.
The evening will be a series of fast-paced food talks, with ten experts from the University of Washington and around the region presenting on a range of topics. Each presenter will have six minutes and 20 slides to cover their topic.
Archaeologists will present on what people were eating 10,000 years ago, and Elise Krohn, of Northwest Indian College Cooperative Extension will present on the revival of Northwest Coastal Indian food traditions.
UW students break ground on the newest addition to the UW Farm, at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Photo by Julia Reed.
Tickets to Short Takes are $5 and available at the door. Poster courtesy of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
January 27, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Documentary filmmaker John Gussman just posted this spectacular footage on his website documenting the deconstruction work underway on both dams on the Elwha River.
Glines got a major dose of dynamite and Gussman was there to record the action.
Meanwhile the blog put up by the National Park Service also shows both dams looking…a lot less like dams. Contractors will actually be removing concrete from Elwha Dam all the way down to the natural river bed pretty darn soon.
The web cams continue to be a fantastic perch from which to view the action.
Glines Canyon Dam on January 27th, from the webcam
For much more on the dam removal project, read our special section in the Seattle Times.
We have a lot more to come, too. I’m presently writing a book on the Elwha restoration effort, to be published by the Seattle Times and Mountaineers Books in Spring of 2013.
January 26, 2012 at 7:00 AM
You’ll see her there in any weather, in her trademark blue hat, likely as not perched on her folding camp seat, binoculars up. “Look, there’s a redhead duck,” she said softly as I walked past on a recently blustery January morning. Once again, Connie Sidles had enriched a visitor’s experience of this special place. Constance is the right name for her, a day in and day out presence at the Montlake Fill, one of the most prized birding venues in Seattle.
If you haven’t sampled her blog, do. It’s a diary of the fill, a special place, full of special birds, observed by Sidles with loving attention. Outstanding photographs contributed by wildlife photographers and nature lovers are a treat as well.
Right in the heart of the city, the fill, also called the Union Bay Natural Area, offers a chance to enjoy birds in every season, from swooping swallows in the spring to hummingbirds, to flotillas of ducks. On my recent walk through, goldeneye and teal floated serenely in the ponds and that redhead duck was quite the show.
Sidles is the bard of this place, writing not one, but now a second book about her observations there. Beautifully illustrated with photographs, the book offers a look into one woman’s long-running relationship with one place, over many seasons.
A Cedar waxwing graces the cover of Connie Sidles’ new book, Second Nature. Photo by Tim Kuhn
The fill is just that: a former landfill, enjoying a second life as a wildlife preserve, under a restoration program that has brought flocks of species to this urban place.
Killdeer chicks grace the shoreline at the Montlake Fill. Photo by Doug Parrott
January 24, 2012 at 4:30 PM
This just in from the Seattle Aquarium, which had all kinds of news to report on the baby otter after HER first vet exam Tuesday. Yes, she’s a girl, as we reported yesterday, but here is the video of the exam that confirmed it:
“Through positive reinforcement Aniak has been allowing us to weigh the pup and do some minimal handling the last few days. So this morning, our veterinarian, Lesanna, was able to do a physical examination on the pup poolside and confirmed it is indeed a girl. Her current weight as of (Tuesday) is 4.78 lbs (right on target!)” spokesman Tim Kuniholm writes.
Aniak last week, with her baby, born Jan. 14. The Seattle Aquarium’s vet has determined the baby is a girl. Photo courtesy Seattle Aquarium.
The fact the baby is female means we get to keep her. If the baby had been a male, he would probably need to be moved to another facility, to avoid conflict with Adaa, the other male at the Aquarium (and the baby’s father, presently on, shall we say, parental leave, at the Oregon Zoo.)
For some Seattle Times video posted Tuesday, click here.
Here’s a video from the Seattle Aquarium:
No details yet on a name… but for now, here are some cool sea otter facts Kuniholm passed along, gathered by the Seattle Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium:
January 23, 2012 at 7:00 AM
Native people of the Salish Sea have lived off the bounty of this place for thousands of years. A new exhibit at The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington campus, created in collaboration with area tribes, explores and explains the indigenous foods of the region as well as their gathering and use.
Salish Bounty: Traditional Native American Foods of Puget Sound focuses on the revival of traditional food gathering and use in the region, but also provides an intimate look into the past. From herring rakes to gathering baskets, the tools for gathering nature’s bounty adorn the exhibit and are a feast for the imagination. Even everyday things surprise: the name Tukwila, it turns out, comes from the Chinook jargon trade name for hazelnuts. gathered from the trees that used to thrive in that now paved-over place.
Showing the resilience and survival of traditional food ways, the exhibit also includes videos and audio interviews with tribal members about the meaning of traditional food and the culture that informs their gathering and use.
The exhibit kicks off with an opening celebration Saturday, January 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is part of a larger exhibit Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, at the Burke from Jan. 28 to June 10.
Along the way will be a series of special events for the public, including a teach-in on March 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on traditional Northwest native foods and diets.
Teachers from the Northwest Indian College will join members of local tribes to present activities, food walks and talks about the renaissance of interest in traditional foods. Demonstrations and discussions about traditional foods, plant medicines, basketry, cordage, netting and tool making, as well as recipes for wild green salad, acorn bread, and crab apple butter will be presented. There also will be a chance to learn how traditional foods were gathered, stored and prepared, and discussion of traditional foods as a healthy alternative to the conventional mainstream American diet. The session is included free with museum admission fee.
For a complete list of events, which are still in the making, go online to the exhibit’s website.
Making kelp pickles. Photo courtesy of Elise Krohn.
January 20, 2012 at 3:30 PM
Here’s the latest on the baby otter at the Seattle Aquarium.
Reports Tim Kuniholm from the aquarium: “Mom and pup doing well and loving the snow. Pup weighs 3.89 lbs as of this AM and gender is still unknown for sure.”
Mom Aniak and her pup are quite the contented pair, have a look:
Mom and pup snuggle on Friday morning. Photo by Marsha Savery, Seattle Aquarium
The aquarium is open until 5 p.m. today, and will likely resume normal hours tomorrow, Saturday Jan. 21, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check the website to be sure – and have a look at more sea otter photos and video.
There are lots more photos and videos on the aquarium’s Facebook page, too.
January 17, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Creatures of the north, the sea otters at the Seattle Aquarium are right at home with the snow dusting their abode at the Seattle Aquarium. Northern sea otter Aniak’s newborn pup, who arrived about 5 a.m. Saturday, is wearing a baby blanket of white as she floats about with her mom Tuesday morning.
The new sea otter pup at the Seattle Aquarium wears a dusting of snow on Tuesday. Photo courtesy, Seattle Aquarium
The pup is vocalizing and nursing and Aniak is grooming her baby fastidiously. No word yet on the gender of the pup, who also still needs a name. Suggestions?
Puff? Fluff? Or something more … rugged and northern sounding?
Here’s the latest from expert Traci Belting at the aquarium, on how the pup is doing Tuesday:
“We were able to weigh the pup this morning and it weighed 3.47 lbs which is average for a 3 day old pup. Aniak is being an incredibly good mother and everything is right on track as far as the behavioral data we have been collecting during our round the clock observations. The pup has some healthy lungs since visitors and staff have heard the classic high pitched squeals characteristic of baby sea otters. The pup usually vocalizes if mom has set it down somewhere and it wants to be picked up or if its hungry and wants to nurse.
“The pup’s fur is so thick that gender determination is based on watching it urinate. While the pup is lying on its back, if we see urine spouting up into the air we know it’s a boy. If the only urination is observed between the rear flippers its a girl. Preliminary observations seem to indicating the pup might be a girl but we won’t be sure until we can confirm a few more observed urinations.
That’s all for now.”
Here is the pup in another photograph from this morning, hanging around with mom:
Being a sea otter pup mostly means lots of grooming to maintain the natal pelage that keeps the pup buoyant. Photo courtesy Seattle Aquarium.
The otters are blissfully unaware of all this fuss about Snowmageddon, Seattle style. Being from up north has its advantages.
Taking it easy at the Seattle Aquarium. Let it snow, let it snow. Photo courtesy Seattle Aquarium
Maybe more video tomorrow. Stay tuned.
January 15, 2012 at 10:30 AM
Well the baby ottter at the Seattle Aquarium is now one day old and looking, well, “cute” doesn’t begin to say it.
Mother Aniak with her baby on board at the Seattle Aquarium. Photo courtesy Seattle Aquarium
The pup was born just about 5 a.m. Saturday. It’s so fluffy, biologists don’t yet know its gender. Pups are born with a natal pelage to give them extra buoyancy. The pup is already nursing, a good sign. This is the second pup born to Aniak, who herself was born at the aquarium.
An otter-watch team has been set up to keep track of the pair’s doings, logging data every five minutes into a laptop as they go through their day eating, nursing and grooming.
What could be puffier or fluffier than a baby sea otter? Photo courtesy Seattle Aquarium
The Seattle Aquarium in 1979 was the first in the world to successfully breed northern sea otters.
This pregnancy was a surprise; the aquarium is not intentionally breeding its otters, in order to save space at the facility for rescues. But now that the pup is here, Aniak and her baby will receive the utmost care.
For more on the birth, and the aquarium’s hours, visit the Seattle Aquarium website.
Aniak and her baby are on view and visitors are welcome.
Aniak and her baby relax at the Seattle Aquarium. Photo, Seattle Aquarium
January 12, 2012 at 7:00 AM
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has scheduled ten free days at the parks for 2012, and the first opportunities to enjoy any state park without a Discover Pass is coming right up, on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday three-day weekend Jan. 14-16,
The freshness of a winter walk on the beach is hard to beat. The wind blows out the cabin fever at Cape Disappointment State Park. Douglas MacDonald, photo
The Discover Pass will not be required of visitors enjoying any of the state’s more than 100 parks. Many of the state parks free days are scheduled to coincide with 2012 free days offered by the National Park Service, to enhance the possibilities of a great itinerary.
The “free days” are in keeping with legislation that created the Discover Pass, a $30 annual or $10 one-day permit required on state-managed recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources.
The wild coast of Washington is just a short drive from Seattle. Leave in the morning and be there for a picnic lunch at special places like this cove at Cape Disappointment State Park. Douglas MacDonald, photo
The Discover Pass legislation provided that State Parks could designate up to 12 “free days” when the pass would not be required to visit state parks. The free days only apply at state parks. A Discover Pass will still be required to access DFW and DNR lands.
Following are the 2012 State Parks “free days:”
· Jan 14 through 16 – Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend
· March 18 and 19 – In honor of Washington State Parks’ 99th birthday on March 19
· June 9 – National Get Outdoors Day
· Sept. 29 – National Public Lands Day
· Nov. 10 through 12 – Veterans Day weekend
For more information about state parks, a listing of park locations and features, and more, go online.
Lighthouse fans have plenty to choose from at Washington State Parks, such as this beauty at Cape Disappointment State Park. Douglas MacDonald, photo
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