NEW ORLEANS – An “otterly” adorable new resident has found a home at Audubon Aquarium.
The rescued juvenile sea otter from Monterey, California, arrived Wednesday night and is currently acclimating to her new environment behind-the-scenes in the custom-made, 25,000-gallon sea otter habitat.
The 18-month-old female sea otter was found as an abandoned day-old pup on September 12, 2015. While she appeared well enough to be released following a period of care, after several unsuccessful attempts, it was determined by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials that she would not survive in the ocean if left on her own.
The new otter will be joining Audubon’s current resident, Clara, an 8-year-old sea otter that has been under the care of the Aquarium’s team since 2015.
In the wild, Southern sea otters are imperiled by disease, pollutants, kelp harvesting and net entrapment. An expansive range that once stretched from Japan all the way to Baja California is now reduced to the central California coast. Sea otters are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Audubon is known for its excellent management of sea otters in human care,” said Beth Firchau, Director of Animal Husbandry, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. “Our partnership with SORAC is invaluable to our ability to do our work, and do it so well. We look forward to caring for this amazing sea otter ambassador and hope we inspire our visitors to save animals like these from extinction.”
Audubon has narrowed down the otter’s new name to three choices, and they want the public’s help in choosing. Click here to vote on a name.
Here’s a photo gallery of the adorable new otter: