A rescued male Sea Otter pup, being cared for by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, was just placed on the Sea Otter exhibit on Valentine’s Day with experienced surrogate sea otter mother, Joy. The debut of the 8 week old pup makes him the youngest Sea Otter in the aquarium’s history to become part of the two-story exhibit, which is a permanent home for rescued Sea Otters that can’t be returned to the wild. The pup, known as 572, is the 572nd stranded Sea Otter to be brought into the aquarium’s Sea Otter Research and Conservation program since 1984. He will be named after he is transferred to his permanent home – another accredited facility – later this year.
Pup 572 came to the aquarium on January 5 from a Cayucos-area beach (San Luis Obispo County) as a 2 week-old stranded animal weighing less than six pounds. On arrival he was found to have a superficial laceration on his right shoulder, possibly the result of a great white shark bite that may have killed his mother. He was admitted into the aquarium’s veterinary intensive care unit, where he was cared for until he was introduced to surrogate mother Joy on exhibit after the aquarium closed to the public on February 13. He is the seventh pup, in the last two years, to enter the aquarium’s Sea Otter program after the mother presumably suffered a fatal bite from a great white shark. Pup 572 now weighs 15 pounds, having gained 9 pounds in just under six weeks and is a robust, healthy, developmentally normal pup.
Pup 572 will remain on exhibit as long as husbandry staff continues to see positive interactions with Joy. This is the 16th pup Joy has mentored, and her third on exhibit. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has authorized the aquarium to raise him on exhibit and has declared him to be non-releasable.
In addition to seeing pup 572 in person, otter lovers can watch him behind-the-scenes on the aquarium’s daily via the aquarium’s live streaming OtterCam at http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/efc/efc_otter/otter_cam.aspx from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific time.