If you've never been, the Monterey Bay Aquarium sits on the edge of California's Monterey Bay, and part of the building juts out over the water. To the side of that is a quiet pool called the Great Tide Pool, which wild otters and other wildlife sometimes visit. Yesterday morning a wild sea otter gave birth in the Great Tide Pool! The aquarium writes:
For the last several days, a wild female sea otter had been using the protected basin of our Great Tide Pool to rest from the winter storms. Last night, just as the Aquarium closed, she was spotted once again slinking into the pool for some shut-eye. It’s rare for a healthy sea otter to visit the pool so frequently—we started to wonder if she was doing all right.
Well, mystery solved! Around 8:30 a.m., Aquarium staff witnessed a BRAND NEW pup resting on her belly, being furiously groomed by a proud momma. We’re talking umbilical-cord-still-attached, whoa-is-that-yep-that’s-the-placenta new-born otter pup!
In steady waves, Aquarium staff, volunteers, and then the days’ visitors made their way to the back deck to watch a conservation success story taking place—and become fluffier in front of their eyes. Not that long ago, sea otters were hunted to near extinction. Maybe 50 were left in all of California by the early 1800’s. But now, thanks to legislative protection and a change of heart toward these furriest of sea creatures, the otter population has rebounded to steady levels in the Monterey Bay, and with 3,000 total in central California.