Aquarium of the Pacific Mourns a Long-Lived Otter

Charlie, the "oldest living southern sea otter at any zoo or aquarium," passed away on April 22 at the age of 22.

Hugh Ryono

What to Know

  • Aquarium of the Pacific
  • Long Beach
  • A card will be available for signing on Sunday, April 28 at the aquarium's Sea Otter Habitat

Thousands of Southern Californians have enjoyed the playful antics of the Aquarium of the Pacific's southern sea otters over the years. 

And while every otter at the Long Beach destination has won hearts, few have gained the devoted following of Charlie, the aquarium's long-lived and oh-so-loved southern sea otter.

And it was with a somber spirit that the aquatic institution announced Charlie's passing on April 22 at the age of 22.

The whiskery fellow had been named as "the oldest living southern sea otter at any zoo or aquarium" in a "Wild Things" edition of the Guinness Book record-keeping series.

Due to his notable age, "Aquarium staff members had been carefully monitoring Charlie as showing signs of slowing down." But he remained "active and alert until he passed away."

His age was also notable due to the fact that male southern sea otters typically live from ten to 14 years old in the wild.

But even more notable, perhaps?

How much the otter contributed to the aquarium community, otter awareness, and science.

He participated in an otter-oriented sound study at the University of California, Santa Cruz's Long Marine Lab, helping researchers understand the aural world of the water-bound mammals.

But even as he gave back, he never gave up his penchant for rascally fun.

Ice toys? Aquarium visitors know that Charlie was a huge aficionado. Special parties? The birthday boy regularly enjoyed special celebrations.

As a sweet gesture to Charlie's many fans, and to honor his noble memory, the Aquarium of the Pacific will place a card on the railing near the Sea Otter Habitat on Sunday, April 28. Feel free to stop by and sign it (admission to the aquarium is required).

Also? Donations in Charlie's name, which will help other animals of the aquarium, may be made here. 

"Threatened" remains the Endangered Species Act label for the California southern sea otter. But Charlie helped spread knowledge, enthusiasm, and affection for all of otterdoom during his time here, and, for that, many an otter-loving human is grateful.

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