It is with great sadness that the Seattle Aquarium reports that male North American river otter (NARO) Waadah has passed away. Over the last few days Waadah had been exhibiting lethargy and poor appetite associated with age-related heart disease, a condition that is quite common with geriatric river otters. After close monitoring and veterinary evaluation, the decision was made to humanely euthanize him.
The median life expectancy for a NARO is approximately 12 years. It is a testament to the care Waadah received at the Seattle Aquarium that he lived such a vital, energetic life until he was well over 17 years old. There are currently 264 river otters living in facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and only two of those river otters are older than Waadah.
Waadah and his brother Skagway were born to a litter of four pups found under a home on Hood Canal, Washington in spring 1998. The homeowner contacted a trapper to remove mother and pups. Waadah and Skagway were both brought to an animal rehab facility in Port Townsend, Washington and were later transferred to the Seattle Aquarium. They became the original occupants of the Aquarium’s river otter exhibit, which opened in the summer of 1998.
The two remaining river otters at the Seattle Aquarium, Skagway and Molalla, can be seen in their exhibit. Molalla, who was born at Oregon Zoo, came to the Aquarium in February 2014. He is about three years old.