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Meet Baby Qilak, The Shedd Aquarium’s Newest Otter

A boy pup from Alaska is the third sea otter taken in by the Shedd this month.

Chicago's newest arrival is a sea otter named Qilak.
Alaska SeaLife Center
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CHICAGO — Another sea otter has made its way to the Shedd Aquarium.

A 5-month-old boy pup named Qilak is joining the otter habitat at the aquarium, which welcomed two California rescues earlier this month.

Qilak will grow up alongside his new family: Luna, Cooper, Watson and Otters 926 and Otter 929. Otter 929 will be named Tuesday after a public vote.

In September, Qilak was found in Alaska’s western Kenai Peninsula, according to a Shedd news release. The pup was crying loudly on top of his mother, who was barely moving and breathing. Rescuers saved Qilak, but his mother died the next day.

The pup was underweight but “strong and alert,” according to the Shedd. He received around-the-clock care at Alaska SeaLife Center, a marine mammal rescue facility, before shipping off to the Shedd on Tuesday.

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.

Rescuers named the healthy young pup Qilak, which means “dome of the sky” in Inuktitut, a language of Indigenous people in the Arctic.

Qilak is eating solid foods, swimming, self-grooming and is expected to adapt to his new habitat and bond with his caretakers, according to the Shedd.

The pup “continues to show signs of independence,” according to the Shedd.

Credit: Alaska SeaLife Center
Qilak is a boy pup who likes to play with ice.

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