Yaku the otter, a resident of Shedd Aquarium in Illinois, turned 20 years old on April 20. In honor of that momentous occasion, he received a cake covered with fish and got a private violin concert. The birthday celebrations came in the midst of Illinois’ “stay-at-home” order, but his caretakers were not about to let his big day go by without a party.
Shedd posted this tribute to Facebook, sharing Yaku’s joy with people worldwide. “Happy birthday to sea otter Yaku! At 20 years old, Yaku is both the oldest and the largest otter at Shedd. His big birthday bash was complete with a yummy seafood ‘cake’ of capelin (fish), oysters, gelatin and clam paste and even a violin serenade from caretaker Michelle! (Which sea otter Kiana seemed particularly interested in.) The rest of the sea otter group got to join in on the enrichment session, too, making this a true party (with social distancing and masks on the human side, of course!) Join us in wishing Yaku a happy birthday!”
In a shared video, the otter appears to be enjoying himself as he eats treats and listens to the music. In the wild, otters have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years but they commonly live to 20+ in facilities like Shedd Aquarium. Yuku is one of five rescued otters who live at the Chicago facility.