His hoops skills earned him worldwide fame throughout his golden years, but age finally caught up to Eddie, the Oregon Zoo’s slam-dunking sea otter, who was euthanized earlier this week following a decline related to his advanced years.
At nearly 21, Eddie was considered one of the oldest — and most talented — sea otters on the planet.
“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. “He was quite feisty as a young otter, and we still saw that spirit come through during his later years. 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.”
Orphaned as a pup along the California coast in 1998, and lacking the skills to survive on his own in the wild, Eddie was taken to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s rescue and care program for rehabilitation.
Eventually, though, he was deemed non-releasable by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and in 2000 he came to the Oregon Zoo.
The otter suffers from arthritis, so his keeper came with a novel way for him to improve movement in his joints – basketball. Eddie’s slam dunking moves was seen by millions on Youtube.