Oily sea otter to be released soon

February 28, 2009 12:02:13 PM PST
The state Department of Fish and Game will release a young sea otter into the wild within the next few weeks after she was found almost halfway covered in oil in Monterey Bay over the weekend.

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The sea otter weighs about 25 pounds, is about a year old and was likely the victim of a natural oil seep off the Monterey Coast that covered about 40 percent of her body, according to the department.

The department's mammal care facility in Santa Cruz is caring for her after she was rescued from Sunset State Beach in Santa Cruz on Sunday.

Veterinarians bathed her in oil and used other rehabilitation resources, such as a temperature sensitive chip that monitors her condition during every stage of the recovery process.

They will also surgically implant a tracking chip so they can make sure she accommodates to the wild again, department spokeswoman Carol Singleton said.

The department believes more wildlife might be impacted by oil that churned up in recent winter storms. The public is asked to report sightings of oiled wildlife to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network Response Hotline at (877) UCD-OWCN, which is (877) 823-6926.

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