A video of Nellie the sea otter demonstrating her cup stacking talents at Tacoma’s Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has gone viral, even getting play on a newscast during NBC’s “Today” show this morning.
Since the video was posted on Aug. 1 it’s been viewed 1.3 million times.
Another video of the zoo’s walrus, E.T., and his amazing range of vocalizations has also gone viral with 1.7 million views.
Nellie, who weighs 48 pounds, came to PDZA in 2004. The cup stacking keeps her engaged and gives her physical and mental stimulation, zoo officials say. She apparently arrived at the zoo with the hobby but she’s perfected it under the tutelage of senior staff biologist Lisa Triggs.
Nellie is one of five sea otters at PDZA. The zoo’s oldest, Homer, is one of only two remaining sea otter survivors of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill who are on exhibit in U.S. zoos.
The zoo is honoring them on Sept. 23 with Sea Otter Awareness Day. It’s designed to educate the public about the curious, too-cute mammals and the dangers that face them in the wild.
The zoo’s sea otters will receive treats, including fresh oysters at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. that day. They’ll also get otter pops and giant ice toys to play with.