This is Selka, Monterey Bay Aquarium's newest resident! Selka is no stranger to the aquarium - she was rescued when she was only one week old. Known then as 595, she spent a few months with the aquarium's surrogate sea otters, who taught the little one how to otter on her own. The aquarium released her to the wild, but only eight weeks later she was again rescued after having been attacked by a shark. Back she went to the aquarium, where she underwent surgery and rehabilitation, and when she was better, she was again released. She made her third visit to the aquarium after a few months in the wild, "this time due to concerns about her health and several interactions with people. US Fish and Wildlife determined that she was too likely to interact with humans to be safe in the wild and deemed her non-releasable."
Selka's next home was Pinniped Cognition & Sensory Systems Laboratory at the University of California Santa Cruz. Monterey Bay Aquarium writes:
Researchers named her Selka after the selkies, mythical seal-like creatures that can assume human form on land.
During her two-year research sabbatical, Selka provided scientists with a window into the previously unknown sensory and cognitive world of sea otters. She helped researchers understand how wild sea otters search for and acquire enough prey to survive in their ocean home.
She also won over the hearts of the researchers along the way. “Selka’s cleverness, combined with her easygoing and inquisitive nature, made her an ideal partner in these behavioral studies.” explains Dr. Colleen Reichmuth “She is a graceful, curious, and endearing creature. We think that the world will love her and are so happy that you can share her remarkable story.”
Now she's found a permanent home at Monterey Bay Aquarium, where she'll have lots of company and fun with their other resident sea otters! Read Monterey Bay Aquarium's announcement here.