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Zoo News is Good News: Rescued Sea Otter Pup Finds New Home

| January 1, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Oregon Zoo Staff02 Baby Otter at Oregon Zoo 2017

A small but boisterous sea otter pup, orphaned last fall along the California coast, has taken up residence at the Oregon Zoo.

The pup, rescued in late October by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s sea otter care team, 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.”

Visitors should get their first look at the young pup later this month, when he joins the zoo’s adult sea otters, Eddie and Juno, at Steller Cove. In the meantime, otter fans can check out video of the new arrival at: bit.ly/OtterPup805.

“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 month 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.”

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. Once abundant along the Oregon coast, they were hunted to extinction there in the early 1900s and have not established permanent residence in the state for more than a century.

To learn more about the Oregon Zoo’s sea otters and how to help protect the species, visit oregonzoo.org/discover/animals/southern-sea-otter.

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