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Aquarium Mourns Loss of Opossum Webster

Aquarium Mourns Loss of Opossum Webster

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Opossum Webster

Aquarium Team Mourns Loss of Education Opossum Webster

North Carolina Aquarium loses Webster, their Opossum Ambassador.

The veterinary team at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize educational animal ambassador Webster, a Virginia opossum, on Jan 20. After biopsy results, the decision confirmed a form of invasive cancer in Webster’s mouth that was inoperable. “These kinds of decisions are always, always difficult. The team here at Roanoke Island is taking it very hard,” said Elizabeth Huber, husbandry curator at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.

“But Webster’s quality of life outweighs all else. He will always be in our hearts and minds as we celebrate the joy he brought to so many of our visitors through our educational programs.” Webster came into the care of the aquarium’s husbandry team almost four years ago after being orphaned. It was discovered that his rear hip joints were not adequately developed.

In the wild, this condition would prevent him from climbing trees to search for food, escape predators, and rest, making a release into his natural habitat unfeasible. While opossums only have a 1-to-2-year lifespan in the wild, Webster beat the odds by living for almost four years thanks to his amazing care team. During that time, Webster delighted many visitors and helped educate and alter many regarding opossums.

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“I take comfort in knowing he is so loved,” said Dr. Emily Christiansen, North Carolina Aquarium Division veterinarian. “He had such an excellent long opossum life that he would not have had otherwise if he wasn’t part of our family!

Opossum WebsterWhile the Roanoke Island team is terribly saddened at the loss of Webster, his great ambassador work will continue through the efforts of Patrick, the aquarium’s younger ambassador opossum. The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It is dedicated to the mission of “Inspiring appreciation and conservation of our aquatic environments.” The aquarium is located in Manteo at 374 Airport Rd, Off U.S. 64. For more information, see ncaquariums.com/roanoke-island or call 252-475-2300.

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