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Photograph: Courtesy Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium celebrates its oldest sea otter’s birthday with seafood cake and live music

Yaku the otter received a cake covered with fish in honor of his big day.

Morgan Olsen
Written by
Morgan Olsen

The Illinois "stay-at-home" order makes it impossible to visit the Shedd Aquarium right now, but it didn't stop the institution's staff from hosting an intimate but memorable birthday bash for Yaku, its 20-year-old sea otter.

In honor of Yaku's big day, caretakers created a frozen "cake" made entirely of otter-approved delicacies like fish, clams, squid and rendition of "Happy Birthday," performed by caretaker Michelle on violin.

Though Yaku certainly looks young and spry in the video below (especially when he's going after treats!), he's the Shedd's oldest resident otter. In the wild, sea otters typically live 10 to 15 years, but in facilities like the Chicago aquarium, most live to see their early 20s—making this milestone especially meaningful. Yaku was born to two otters rescued from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 and is one of five rescued otters who call the Shedd Aquarium home.

Take a look at feel-good footage from Yaku's 20th birthday bash below. 

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