Rescued, Rehabilitated and Totally at Home at Shedd Aquarium

Aug 16, 2017

Sea otter pups adrift in an oil spill. Penguin chicks abandoned in their nests. Young sea lions stranded on California beaches. For more than 50 years, Shedd Aquarium has committed to helping hundreds of animals in need, including 40 that currently call the aquarium home.

Shedd’s Animal Response Team is always ready to grab rescue gear, from wetsuits to veterinarians’ medical bags, for destinations across the country or around the world. Shedd works with 17 global partners to rescue, rehabilitate, release and rehome animals.

  • Shedd became an expert in raising sea otter pups, beginning with the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. The aquarium has rehabilitated and raised a dozen pups that could never be returned to the wild.
  • Shedd’s experts are part of an international effort to rehabilitate and release abandoned African penguin chicks in South Africa. For complex reasons, the adults of this endangered species cannot finish raising their chicks and leave them. Each chick is critical to the species’ survival, and Shedd has helped hundreds grow up and “fledge” into their native waters.
  • Among the California sea lions that have found a permanent home at Shedd is Cruz, who was blinded by a gunshot wound to the head. Today he negotiates the aquarium’s sea lion habitats with ease and roughhouses with the other male sea lions.
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service turned to Shedd for assistance in rescuing 102 juvenile arapaima fish, an internationally protected species, confiscated fromO’Hare International Airport. Shedd was able to save more than half of the young fish, which were shipped in appalling conditions, provide medical care and find homes for all of them.

Courtesy of Shedd Aquarium. Visit Shedd Aquarium’s website at, and read more about Shedd’s rescued animals here.

Photo courtesy of ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez.