Minnesota Zoo welcomes 2 rescued northern sea otter pups

The Minnesota Zoo welcomes two new rescue sea otter pups. Meet 7-week-old Nuka (left) and 5-month old Denali (right). (Photo courtesy of Minnesota Zoo) (Supplied)

The Minnesota Zoo’s sea otters are gaining two new family members.  

The zoo announced Friday it's taking in 5-month-old Denali and 7-week-old Nuka, who were rescued in Alaska within days of each other.

Denali, named after the tallest peak in North America, was found abandoned about five miles up a river on land, which is not a common area for sea otters in Alaska, explained the Minnesota Zoo. The pup appeared to be malnourished and dehydrated, so Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) took Denali in. 

Nuka, named after an island, was found when she was just days old after her mother was killed in an orca attack. An off-duty ASLC staff member witnesses the event and their wildlife response team launched into action, rescuing Nuka. 

"Northern sea otter pups are highly dependent on their mothers during the first several months of their life, leading to a drastically reduced survival rate when orphaned," said the zoo in a Facebook post. 

The orphaned pups received triage care at ASLC for several weeks before making the more than 3,000-mile journey to Apple Valley.

As the update states, for now, the pups remain behind the scenes as they receive around-the-clock care and get acclimated to their new environment. 

The Minnesota Zoo has a long partnership with ASLC, and three of the zoo's adult male sea otters were rescued by the organization nearly 17 years ago when they were abandoned as pups.