A baby sea otter created some tidal waves over the Internet recently when a video of her learning to float was uploaded to YouTube gaining over 3 million views. According to MyFoxBoston.com, the pup was found on a San Mateo County beach by a local resident who had heard her cries of distress. The pup was quickly rushed to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Karl Mayer, animal care coordinator for the Sea Otter Program, reveals to MyFoxBoston.com, “On arrival at Monterey Bay Aquarium, she weighed 1 kg, which is tiny for a newborn sea otter, and she had been separated from mom for at least 16 hours. This meant it was critical that we begin to get calories into her as quickly as possible.”
Mayer also explains in an interview with National Geographic, that wild pups about five weeks old tend to be comfortable in the water and their swimming abilities. However, this pup, named Pup 681, is the same age and is a bit behind so she needs a little more help, but not the kind of help you would provide to a child learning how to swim. Mayer says they are encouraging her to develop an otter state of mind without getting into the water with her.
After four weeks of intensive care and weighing in at six pounds, she is now ready to leave and go to her forever home at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, a collaborative partner of Monterey Bay Aquarium. Vice President of animal collections for Shedd Aquarium, Tim Binder, tells MyFoxBoston.com, “While the process is lengthy, our hands-on experience and long history rehabilitating sea otters allows us to use our expertise to work on saving this pup’s life to providing her with a home and the care she needs.”
Watch the adorable video below of Pup 681 learning to float. If you would like to get update’s on her progress, you can check out the Shedd Aquarium's blog.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Her life began with adversity: At just 4 weeks, she was separated from her mother, possibly during the tumult of a storm. She later had to be rescued from crashing waves on a Carmel, California, beach.
But fortunately for this orphaned baby sea otter, her days are starting to look up. She's found a forever home -- and is being given another shot at life.
The 10-week-old sea otter (named Pup 719 for now) was rescued by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in early January. Rescuers believe the now-“healthy, alert and feisty” pup had been with her mother for about a month before they were separated.
With approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the baby otter was flown to Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, her new permanent home, on Jan. 27.
The otter now “receives around-the-clock care” from a team of surrogate human moms, said the aquarium in a blog post this week.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the pup cannot be safely returned to the ocean. Sea otters typically spend up to nine months with their moms learning how to survive in the wild, and this baby only got to spend a few weeks with her mother.
Shedd Aquarium says, however, that the sea otter pup is adjusting very well to her new home and is developing normally.
Also on HuffPost:
Caretakers at the Shedd Aquarium are helping the rescue otter pups learn the life skills they need to thrive
Just when you think otters couldn’t get any cuter, they go and do something like this.
Two orphaned otter pups recently rescued by Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium are finding comfort in one another.
According to the aquarium, the fluffy friends adore taking naps together at Shedd’s Regenstein Sea Otter Nursery. Both of the babies were taken in two weeks ago, and are staying behind the scenes at the aquarium.
Otters usually learn important survival and life skills from their mothers, but since both of these pups don’t have parents, they are bonding with their caretakers at the aquarium instead.
“Much of an otter’s behavior is not instinctual but is learned by watching mom. So, since mom isn’t around, the care team at Shedd is filling that role, providing food, helping the otters learn to groom their fur and more,” Shedd wrote in a release about the adorable duo.
When the baby otters aren’t napping, they are busy swimming, playing, learning and frolicking.
The aquarium does not have a date set for the pair’s public debut, but will be providing updates on the otters, including when you can see them, on their website and social media accounts.
A small but boisterous sea otter pup, orphaned several weeks ago along the California coast, has taken up residence at the Oregon Zoo this month.
For now known simply as "805" — the number assigned to him by Monterey Bay Aquarium's rescue and care program — the young otter arrived in Portland Friday morning and is being cared for in a behind-the-scenes nursery at the zoo's Steller Cove marine life habitat. This separate enclosure was funded by the Sea Otter Foundation and Trust to enable the zoo to step up and welcome an orphaned otter pup when needed.
The tiny pup, rescued in late October, was stranded in Morro Bay Harbor when he was less than 2 weeks old. Unable to be paired with a surrogate mom, he was eventually deemed non-releasable by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"We needed to locate a zoo or aquarium that could take him in," said Andrew Johnson, Monterey Bay Aquarium's conservation research operations manager. "Fortunately, the Oregon Zoo was able to provide him with a permanent home."
No. 805 is currently estimated to be about 2 months old, and weighs around 14 pounds.
"When they're young they float like corks, but he's learning to dive now and loves showing off," said Oregon Zoo marine life keeper Sara Morgan, who traveled to Monterey last week to meet the pup and help prepare for his trip north. "He's full of spunk, very squeaky and fun to be around. He also takes a lot of naps — that's when he's at his fluffiest."
Caregivers say the young otter has started grooming himself though he still needs some help, and he is enjoying his seafood diet — both good signs that he's settling in well.
"Right now he definitely has a preference for shrimp," Morgan said. "He seemed insulted when I tried to offer him squid."
Visitors should get their first look at the young pup next month, when he joins the zoo's adult sea otters, Eddie and Juno, at Steller Cove.
Sea otters, once abundant along the Oregon coast, were hunted to extinction here in the early 1900s and have not established permanent residence in the state for more than a century. A few visiting otters have been sighted in recent years, notably in Depoe Bay in 2009. Though currently protected from hunting by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, they continue to be threatened by oil spills, fishing nets and infectious diseases.
Sea otters are considered a keystone species and play critical role in the Pacific Coast marine ecosystem, promoting healthy kelp forests, which in turn support thousands of organisms.
November 5, 2014 / 9:41 PM / CBS News
A sea otter pup orphaned off the California coast has found a new home -- in Chicago.
The Shedd Aquarium adopted the animal who was orphaned by her mother about five weeks ago. The pup was rescued after a jogger in the San Francisco Bay area heard her crying on the beach, CBS Chicago reported.
"Pup 681" has found a permanent home at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. CBS News
She was taken to Monterey Bay Aquarium, a leading research facility in sea otter rehabilitation. It called Shedd to take the pup in permanently.
The sea otter, now known only as "Pup 681" arrived at the aquarium Oct. 28, weighing less than six pounds.
Christy Sterling, Shedd's assistant supervisor of penguins and otters, helps to take care of the aquarium's new addition and says workers will have to teach her to groom herself.
"We'll put her on a white towel and get a white washcloth and she kind of has picked up on working on spots herself, but we'll help out as well and she'll learn to rub on the white towel and get that water out of her fur," said Sterling.
No name has been chosen for the rescued sea otter yet.
First published on November 5, 2014 / 9:41 PM
© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.