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The Audubon Nature Institute is deeply saddened to announce the death of “Buck,” one of the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas’ two Southern sea otters. Buck died today at the age of 18 after his health began to dramatically decline over the past few weeks. During that time, Buck has been under the constant care of our skilled veterinary team and his training staff. Lab results are still pending to determine the exact cause of death.

“Buck was full of personality and he will be sorely missed by our staff, volunteers and guests,” said Aquarium of the Americas Director Rich Toth. “He was a beloved individual and ambassador for his wild brethren. Buck’s long, rich life is a testament to the outstanding care he received at the Aquarium.”

The life span for a Southern sea otter in the wild is approximately 12 years. At 18, Buck was the fifth oldest sea otter under human care. The average life span for otters under human care is late teens and rarely into their early 20s.

Buck had been found stranded and was rehabilitated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in 1997. When it was determined that he was unable to return to the wild, he was moved to the Audubon Aquarium with fellow sea otter Emma in 1999.

Audubon welcomes your positive comments, memories and condolences to the animal training staff, who are especially affected by this loss.