Thursday 19 September 2019

World famous slam-dunking sea otter dies at 21

Eddie, who became famous for his basketball skills, was euthanised at Oregon Zoo after his health declined due to old age.

Male sea otters rarely live past 15 years (Yulia-B/Getty)
Male sea otters rarely live past 15 years (Yulia-B/Getty)

By Alastair Reid, Press Association

A slam-dunking, self-pleasuring sea otter who became an internet sensation has died at the age of 21.

Eddie the otter, who lived at Oregon Zoo in the US, gained worldwide fame in 2013 after zookeepers trained him to dunk a toy basketball as therapy for arthritis.

“Male sea otters seldom live past 15 years, so Eddie was among the very oldest of his kind,” said Amy Cutting, who oversees the zoo’s marine life area, in a press release.

“He was quite feisty as a young otter, and we still saw that spirit come through during his later years.”

In loving memory of Eddie. At nearly 21, he was considered one of the oldest sea otters on the planet.

Posted by Oregon Zoo on Thursday, December 20, 2018

Eddie was orphaned as a pup in California in 1998 before he had learned all the necessary skills to survive in the wild.

He joined Oregon Zoo in 2000 where he became a mentor to younger otters and famous for his basketball skills, as well as a noticeable habit for lying on his back and pleasuring himself.

Ms Cutting said: “He got along great with our two younger otters, Juno and Lincoln, and was often observed wrestling and playing with them.

“But he was the elder statesman of the group, and they learned to leave him alone when he wanted to rest.”

Sea otters are listed as threatened on the endangered species list and were hunted to the brink of extinction during the late 1800s and early 1900s for their fur.

Eddie was humanely euthanised on Thursday morning after his health had declined due to old age.

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