• Mackenzie Dekle

Georgia Aquarium mourns loss of sea otter Oz

The Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta is mourning the loss of their 18-year-old sea otter named Oz. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Oz had been a part of the Aquarium since its opening in 2005.

According to local CBS station WRDW, " The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Oz was humanely euthanized Thursday afternoon. After suffering several seizures Tuesday, Oz was given an MRI that revealed lesions on the brain." OZ failed to regain mobility.

On Thursday evening, the aquarium made a public announcement on Twitter stating, "this sudden loss is devastating. Oz has been a part of our family since we opened in 2005 and came to us from Oregon Zoo. He was our senior sea otter who was a companion and leader to the other sea otters."

Joined by the sea otter Gracie who passed in 2017 at 19-years-old, OZ came from the Oregon Zoo. Oz left behind three other sea otters: Righton, Bixby, and Cruz.

Male sea otters are known to live between 10-15 years; therefore for Oz to live to 18, he was considered a "geriatric animal." Except for signs of potential arthritis, Oz had perfect health.

The Aquarium website says that sea otters are considered endangered animals due to deaths from entanglement in fishing nets, oil spills, and shark attacks.

An Aquarium staff member states, "Oz will be cherished by his trainers for his gentle spirit, charm, and mischief of always snagging the largest enrichment items from the other otters."

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dr. Tonya Clauss, senior director of animal health at the aquarium and her veterinary team have "conducted a necropsy on Oz, in an effort to understand his unexpected seizures and rapid decline thereafter." Pathologists from the University of Georgia's College of Veterinary Medicine have also joined to gather tests on the sea otter.

Below is a video tribute posted by the staff of the Georgia Aquarium to Oz:

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