VIDEO: California Aquarium Sea Otter Celebrates 22nd Birthday, Breaks World Record

March 6, 2019 Updated: March 17, 2019

Charlie the southern sea otter was orphaned as a pup during the El Niño storms of 1997.  Had he not been rescued, he would have died, experts say. Today, he’s making headlines.

This week, the otter celebrated his 22nd birthday at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. That’s nearly double the average lifespan of wild sea otters. The milestone earned Charlie the Guinness World Record for being the oldest sea otter in an aquarium or zoo. He could possibly be the oldest in the world.

The Aquarium took plenty of birthday pictures to mark the special occasion:

A video of Charlie’s party shows him being treated with a colorful seaweed birthday cake.

In fact, Charlie has been with the Aquarium since before its doors even opened in 1998, after being rescued as a pup, and has since been made their official animal ambassador. Charlie has lived like a king during his years, according to the Aquarium. “He has a luxurious coat, eats more than $15,000 a year in restaurant-quality seafood, has many adoring fans,” states a press release.

Besides being their animal ambassador, Charlie has also participated in scientific studies involving ocean noise from 2011 to 2013. He was taught to enter a specialized acoustic testing environment, to listen for acoustic signals, and to signal to researchers when he heard anything by touching a target with his nose.

Southern sea otters and conservation in the wild

In the wild, southern sea otters inhabit the coast of Northern California, from just south of San Francisco to the coast of central California. They are an integral part of the kelp forest ecosystem. They keep sea urchin populations, which eat kelp, in check by feeding on them.

Southern sea otters were nearly hunted to the point of extinction in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, they are listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, and thanks to conservation efforts, their numbers have grown to nearly 3,000. Wild southern sea otters still face threats, though, from ocean pollution and habitat loss.

Charlie Birthday Treats

Being the oldest sea otter in an aquarium or zoo has its challenges, like figuring out how to balance two big birthday treats at once! Charlie was given one of his favorite treats (frozen nalgene tubes filled with a clam and squid smoothie) behind the scenes so he could take his time enjoying/balancing them. He'll get even more treats at his birthday party today at 4:00 p.m. SEA you there!

Aquarium of the Pacific 发布于 2018年3月2日周五