I don’t see it on the Seattle Aquarium’s own site yet, but a source sends me word that the aquarium’s cuddliest critter finally has a name — with West Seattle significance! From the official press release:
HI! MY NAME IS ALKI The male northern Sea Otter pup born at the
Seattle Aquarium on December 6, 2005 officially has a name. “Alki” was
chosen from names submitted by the Aquarium’s Otter Watch volunteers.
“We decided to give the privilege of naming this otter to our Otter
Watch Volunteers” explains Sue Donohue Smith, Manager of Volunteer and
Guest Services. “For six to eight weeks after otter pups are born at
the Aquarium, we have the Otter Watch program running. The volunteers
work four hour shifts, 24/7, outside the otter exhibit. We collect data
on the behaviors of both mother and pup and compare those behaviors to
other otters born at the Aquarium. Being able to compare the data gives
us a good indication of how the pup is doing. This is tough duty in the
Winter!” Joe Weiss submitted the winning name of Alki for the otter
pup. Joe is the teacher of the Marine Technology program at the Seatac
Occupational Skills Center [OSC]. The Aquarium has a long standing
partnership with the program, placing students as interns in life
sciences as part of their curriculum in the program. Joe told his
students about the naming contest and asked them for ideas. The classes
voted on the name Alki, which he submitted as his choice.
If you’ve ever seen the Otter Watch volunteers on duty, you know it’s hard work indeed. We visited the aquarium shortly after this little guy was born, and marveled as the volunteer simultaneously managed to keep her eyes on the pup, keep her fingers on a keyboard to log the otter’s every action, and keep calm while quietly fielding excited questions from about a dozen kids a minute.