Estimated to be only one week old and weighing in at just over 2 pounds, the female pup was found on September 30, 2014 on Coastways Beach in California between the San Mateo and Santa Cruz county line.
A citizen on an evening walk heard the newborn otter's cry and quickly notified The Marine Mammal Center (TMMC). TMMC staff contacted Monterey Bay Aquarium's Sea Otter Program and scientists determined the pup could not be retrieved that evening due to the remote location and impending darkness.
On the morning of Oct. 1, the pup was still in the same location and determined to have been orphaned. Scientists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Sea Otter Program responded immediately to recover the pup and transport her to Monterey Bay Aquarium.
"On arrival at Monterey Bay Aquarium, 681 weighed 1.0kg, 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," said Karl Mayer, Animal Care Coordinator for the Sea Otter Program.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Sea Otter Program has been studying and helping recover the threatened southern sea otter since 1984. The program works with other aquariums, such as Shedd, and wildlife rescue facilities to respond to every sea otter that comes ashore in distress along the California coast.
The pup arrived at Shedd Oct. 28 and has been receiving round-the-clock care from Shedd's animal care specialists, learning essentially how to be an otter.