On Thursday afternoon we had to say goodbye to one of our beloved Southern sea otters, Oz. He was 18-years-old and one of the first sea otters to come to Georgia Aquarium in 2005. His health and quality of life rapidly declined following several unexpected seizures earlier in the week and the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him was made.
Georgia Aquarium animal care teams and veterinary staff stayed by his side 24 hours a day following his seizures and a MRI was conducted at a partner veterinary facility to try and determine the cause. Oz was a senior otter and had begun showing signs of decreased mobility and potential arthritis, but nothing more severe prior to this week.
Oz was the oldest sea otter at Georgia Aquarium and came to Atlanta in 2005 with fellow sea otter, Gracie who died in 2017 at 19 years old. Oz was a companion to our other three otters, Brighton, Bixby, and Cruz.
He will be remembered by his trainers for his gentleness, charm, and playful nature. Guests and staff alike could find him snuggled in the rockwork of the sea otter exhibit or enjoying enrichment items. He will be remembered by the millions of guests, staff, and volunteers he made connections with over his lifetime.
Oz came to Georgia Aquarium from the Oregon Zoo and was an ambassador for this endangered species and touched the lives of everyone that met him. Oz lived a long and loved life and we have been honored to care and learn from him for close to two decades.
Oz will be deeply missed.
Sea otters are currently “Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Listand face threats such as entanglement in fishing nets, oil spills, and shark attacks. Sea otters’ life span is estimated to be 15 to 20 years for females and 10 to 15 years for males in human care. The average lifespan is approximately 10 to 12 years in their natural habitat. To learn more about southern sea otters and how to preserve this incredible species, please visit Georgia Aquarium’s Animal Guide.