Aquarium Debuts Its Youngest Otter Pup Ever
June 29, 2011
Maybe you've asked yourself, perhaps alone in a dark room, unable to sleep, that all-important question: What is the cutest thing in the world?
Brangelina's latest child in a flower onesy?
A tiny pink cupcake?
Close, but no.
The answer has appeared at the Monterey Bay Aquarium today as a 9-week-old female otter, the youngest to go on exhibit in MBA history, joined the two-story flagship tank. She'll remain there as long as MBA husbandry staff see positive relations between her and her surrogate mom Joy, who's a veteran at welcoming rescues into the fold (540's her 15th).
The little fuzzball is temporarily named "540," as she's the 540th sea otter the Sea Otter Research and Conservation.
Take a peek here on the Aquarium's live-streaming Otter Cam and at these pictures from Randy Wilder and Allison Barrett.
Official word from the Aquarium included commentary about her rescue and thoughts from curators. Some of the highlights appear below:
“She’s several weeks younger than Kit, previously our youngest to go on public view, and is significantly smaller," says Chris DeAngelo, the aquarium’s associate curator of mammals. "It’s a treat for staff and visitors to get to watch a young animal like this develop and learn about life as a sea otter.”
"Pup 540 came to the aquarium on April 28 as a 1-day old stranded animal weighing just over two pounds," the release continues. "She was rescued from a Cayucos area beach by Mike Harris, a sea otter biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game...
"Harris found the apparently newborn pup to be barely responsive and not vocalizing. Under those conditions, it was not appropriate to attempt a search for her mother, so she was immediately transported to the aquarium—the only facility in California able to care for and rehabilitate stranded southern sea otters.
"On arrival, she weighed just over two pounds – around half the typical weight of a newborn pup – and was admitted into SORAC’s intensive care unit, where she was cared for until meeting Joy in an off-exhibit holding area on June 22...
"Pup 540 now weighs 11.4 pounds, and although still small for her age, she is a healthy, developmentally normal pup."
More about ongoing rescue efforts can be found at the Sea Otter Research and Conservation (SORAC) website.
Updates on lil' 540 can also be tracked at the Aquarium's Facebook page.