Even Sea Otters Get To Receive Hearts For Valentine's Day

ReutersPublished: February 12, 20164,088 views
Published: February 12, 2016

The sea otters who live south of Tokyo got more of their special treats as they look to celebrate Valentine's Day. For Yutan, a male Alaskan sea otter, living at the Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise has become a chance to demonstrate to visitors how much he likes to show off. Yutan has been fed every day by breeding engineer Chizuko Shinozaki and when asked about visitor's reactions so far, she says, it has been good.

Sea otters are the only aquarium residents to get their heart-shaped treat before Valentine’s day. It may only be just colored ice, made specifically for the occasion, but aquarium officials say that it is a regular part of the otters’ diet, helping them keep their teeth strong.

Alaska is the heartland of the sea otter's range. In 1973, the population in Alaska was estimated at between 100,000 and 125,000 animals. By 2006, though, the Alaska population had fallen to an estimated 73,000 animals. A massive decline in sea otter populations in the Aleutian Islands accounts for most of the change; the cause of this decline is not known, although orca predation is suspected. The sea otter population in Prince William Sound was also hit hard by the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which killed thousands of sea otters in 1989.

They may be endangered, but seeing these otters get their Valentine’s day hearts got us thinking: when will we receive a heart-shaped popsicle?

Credit to Reuters.

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