Wildfires, smoke and air quality are top of mind for many of us in the western U.S., and our hearts go out to those who have been directly impacted by the fires. All is safe at the Seattle Aquarium but, due to very poor air quality in our region, we’ve been closed to the public since last Friday afternoon to help protect the health of our guests, staff, and volunteers.
How does poor air quality affect the animals in our care? It depends on the species as well as individual underlying health conditions, if any. “Fish and many aquatic invertebrates do their gas exchange across gills—and smoke and ash shouldn’t have any direct impact on the quality of our water,” explains Senior Veterinarian Dr. Caitlin Hadfield.
Follow along with Seattle Aquarium bird and mammal team members Mariko Bushcamp and Aubrey Theiss, who recently traveled to the Alaska SeaLife Center to assist with the rehabilitation of an orphaned sea otter pup!
Many of you had questions after our recent blog post announcing sea otter Mishka’s asthma diagnosis—and our staff veterinarian kindly agreed to answer the most common queries. See below for Dr. Lahner’s responses to your questions, and thanks for your concern about Mishka.
In August of 2011, three Aquarium staff members participated in a Washington sea otter capture effort with partners from U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Monterey Bay Aquarium in a range-wide, three-year federal study of sea otter health and their nearshore environment titled “Coastal ecosystem responses to influences from land and sea.”