Eddie the viral slam dunking sea otter sadly dies shortly before his 21st birthday
Every life on Earth, no matter how brief, has an impact on the others around it. That's just how the circle of life works: we're born, we do a bunch of stuff (some good, some bad), and then we return to the great mystery we came from.
And, alas, this week it was time for one very special creature to depart this mortal plane. Eddie the slam-dunking otter, who was famed for his sick basketball skills and, uh, masturbation habits, has passed away at the ripe old age of 20.
"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 humanely euthanized this morning following a decline related to his advanced years," Oregon Zoo said in a statement on their website. "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 marine life area at Oregon Zoo.
Eddie was rescued as an orphan pup in 1998, and was taken to Monterey Bay Aquarium's rescue and care program for rehabilitation. Initially, the plan was to release him back into the wild, but Eddie was not thought to be able to survive on his own. So, in 2000, he found his forever home at the zoo.
"He was quite feisty as a young otter, and we still saw that spirit come through during his later years," Cutting said. "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."
Tributes came pouring in for the adorable little guy, who achieved worldwide fame five years ago when a video of him shooting hoops went viral. Oh, and because visitors to the zoo often caught him pleasuring himself.
Eddie had only learned to dunk the year before, in 2012, and had been taught the skills by his keepers in an effort to help with his arthritic elbow joints. At the time, zoo staff assumed that Eddie's health was declining, and that he wouldn't last much longer. However, it was in these final years of his life that he truly blossomed.
According to the zoo, "A video about his behind-the-scenes exercise routine went viral in 2013, earning more than 1.7 million views on the zoo's YouTube channel and making him one of the most famous animals on the Internet."
As a final note about Eddie, the Oregon Zoo wanted to let everyone know that his species is endangered.
"Prized for their fur, the animals were hunted to the brink of extinction during the late 1800s and early 1900s," they said. "Conservationists are now looking at the possibility of reintroducing them off the Oregon coast, where they have not established colonies since 1907."
A true hero amongst his kind, it's safe to say that Eddie made his mark on the world - not just because of his basketball skills and amazing longevity, but also because of his notorious masturbation. Rest in peace, you crazy lil guy.