The Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans just welcomed its newest and cutest resident: an 18-month-old sea otter. She arrived at the aquarium on March 8, after a long journey from her native Monterey, California.
And aquarium workers say she’s settling in just fine.
How did a sea otter from NorCal wind up all the way in NOLA? Well, on September 12, 2015, a 1-day-old sea otter pup washed up on the shores of Monterey. Her mother was nowhere in sight, and she clearly couldn’t take care of herself alone.
So the Monterey Bay Aquarium stepped in, scooping up the helpless sea otter pup and nursing her back to health.
Of course, none of this is new to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The aquarium’s Sea Otter Research and Conservation center has been saving sea otters since the 1980s.
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Southern sea otters like this pup are often endangered by human interference, such as nets, kelp harvesting and other manmade pollutants. The program rescues injured sea otters, abandoned sea otters, starving sea otters — pretty much any otter that seems to be in distress.
And with all of these cases, the aquarium does the best it can to ensure the otter can be safely released back into the wild.
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Sometimes, however, things just don’t work out. That’s what happened to this little abandoned pup. After several stabs at release, the aquarium realized she’d never be able to survive alone in the ocean.
So they found a new home for her at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, where she’ll thrive in a 25,000-gallon sea otter tank. She joins one other rescued sea otter, Clara, who just turned 8 years old.
Now what? Well, this little girl needs a name. The Audubon Aquarium has set up an online naming poll. It’s tradition at the aquarium to name animals after characters in John Steinbeck novels or people he encountered in real life. The options are Ruby, Pearl and Charley.
Even if you didn’t ask, our vote’s on Ruby: The little sea otter’s favorite toy is a bright-red ball she loves to bite.
An “otterly” adorable new resident has found a new home at Audubon Aquarium. The rescued juvenile sea otter from Monterey, Calif., is currently acclimating to her new environment behind-the-scenes in the custom-made, 25,000-gallon sea otter habitat.
Cast your vote here. The winner will be revealed on March 16 on the aquarium’s Facebook page.
Learn about how you can help vulnerable marine animals by signing up with Oceana.