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Published on Sep 23, 2008
Nyac one of the two famous otter-holding-hands YouTube stars and long-time resident of the Vancouver Aquarium died on September 23, 2008. She was one of the last surviving sea otters from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Nyac came to the Vancouver Aquarium in 1989 as one of the few young survivors of the oil spill. She not only survived the traumatic event, but she overcame incredible odds and became the only known survivor to have successfully had a pup. On November 9, 1993, Nyac gave birth to a healthy female pup, Kipnuk. This event was considered miraculous due to the internal damage she had sustained. During her 20 years of life, she won the hearts of members, visitors, volunteers and staff at the Vancouver Aquarium. She inspired many people as they learned about sea otters and the issues that face them in our waters today. She was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia a few days before her death. This cancer has not been previously reported in sea otters, but it is associated with contact with petroleum in other species. So even in death, Nyac will continue to provide vital information on the long-term effects of oil exposure.