Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More about Nyac ...

Just got this in an email and thought it was worth sharing:

September 23, 2008



I have some sad news to pass along. Earlier this morning Nyac, our 20 year old female sea otter passed away.

Nyac came to the Vancouver Aquarium in 1989 as one of the few young survivors of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. A veterinary team from the Vancouver Aquarium were on the scene to help handle the disaster and to provide expert care for the traumatized animals. Many of the animals died but a few were rescued. The Vancouver Aquarium was able to provide a home for 8 of the unreleasable otters, including Nyac.

Nyac was at the upper limit of a female sea otter life span. Over the last 2-3 years Nyac has been showing signs of her advanced age most obviously a gradual slowing down in her general behaviours. In July, Nyac suddenly showed limited energy and mobility. The Aquarium’s veterinary team immediately began their work in an attempt to determine a reason for the sudden deterioration of Nyac’s health. An MRI revealed a serious inner ear infection however blood test results showed a more serious underlying disorder.

With treatment, Nyac’s behaviour improved and since that time she had been under close observation by the marine mammal and veterinary care teams. Last Friday her condition worsened and she was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Nyac was placed under 24-hour care with key staff in attendance. Her condition continued to worsen until Nyac passed away early this morning.

“Nyac was a very special animal and had been placed under palliative care. Our entire veterinary and marine mammal care team is, of course, devastated this morning. Lymphocytic leukemia has not been previously reported in sea otters and because there is some association with contact with petroleum in other species, she is an important animal. From a medical perspective, Nyac is also very important because of her long life. Even as we’ll miss her we know she’ll continue to provide vital information on the long-term effects of oil exposure.” said Dr. Martin Haulena, Staff Veterinarian, Vancouver Aquarium.

Nyac’s birth occurred in the wild in late 1988. During her life, Nyac won the hearts of members, visitors, volunteers and staff at the Vancouver Aquarium. Her wonderful spirit and lively nature captured the attention and adoration of all who have had the good fortune to spend time in her presence.

“It is an extremely sad day with the passing of one of our favourite animals. Nyac helped the Vancouver Aquarium interpretive teams engage and inspire millions of visitors as they learned about conservation, rehabilitation of injured marine mammals, and how to help sustain our aquatic environment. Having survived such a traumatic event and overcoming incredible odds at such a young age, her life has been an amazing journey for all of us to share. She lived long, has been adored by millions, and is an inspirational story of hope against the backdrop of a substantial environmental tragedy - the Exxon Valdez oil spill” said Clint Wright, Senior Vice President, Aquarium Operations & Planning.

Since 2007, a video documenting the playful nature of Nyac and her companion Milo has been seen by over 11 million viewers after it was posted on by Cynthia Holmes, a visitor to the Vancouver Aquarium. Ms. Holmes graciously donated the video to the organization in 2007.

Dr. John Nightingale
President, Vancouver Aquarium

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

first the sea lion now this the other otter will be SO sad......

and by the way the sea lion was THE BEST!!!!!!!!!

ms h