Aquarium to Open BP Sea Otter Exhibit - NBC Southern California

Aquarium to Open BP Sea Otter Exhibit

The exhibit opens as its sponsor deals with an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico



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    The Aquarium of the Pacific's new sea otter exhibit -- made possible through a donation from BP -- will open at the same time the oil company deals with the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    BP made the $1 million donation four years ago. The BP Sea Otter Habitat opens Friday.

    Dr. Jerry Schubel is the president and CEO of the aquarium. He said the BP name would remain on the exhibit.

    "They've been a partner of ours since before we opened 12 years ago," Schubel said. "That has been a long, good partnership. It's allowed us to do things we could never do without their support."

    He said BP officials would be part of Friday's celebration. Schubel added that a group of aquarium employees will visit the gulf to help animals affected by the oil spill.

    The LA Times has a look at other BP sponsorship agreements with LA institutions.

    Otterly AmazingMaggie

    Maggie is one of the exhibit's playful sea otters.

    She was separated from her mother near Cayucos -- the exhibit mirrors the Central Coast -- when she was just 10 to 12 weeks old. Her life skills were not up to surviving in the wild, so wildlife officials brought her to the aquarium.

    Maggie arrived in October 2008. She weighed only 6 pounds.

    Thibault Camus/AFP/Getty Images

    After she was bottle and hand fed, Maggie joined the aquarium's other sea otters.

    "With the opening of the otter exhibit, we're able to take in more otters," said Michelle, an aquarium employee as she worked with an otter early Thursday. "So otters that wouldn't be able to survive in the wild can find homes with us."

    The exhibit also features an interactive game to learn about sea otters, poetry contest and special programs like job shadowing and junior biologist program.