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Sea otter pup and mother reunited in Morro Bay

Posted at 12:54 PM, Feb 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-05 16:14:51-05

A stranded southern sea otter pup was reunited with its mother in Morro Bay Monday.

The city of Morro Bay posted video on its Facebook page, showing the sweet reunion.

The Harbor Department assisted the Marine Mammal Center and Fish and Wildlife in reuniting the pup with its mother.

The pup was originally spotted by a commercial fisherman.

A team of experts then went to a known resting area for otters and played pre-recorded vocals of the pup over a Bluetooth speaker in an effort to find the mother. A female otter responded to the vocals.

Rescuers then tossed the baby to its mother to prevent her from being frightened away by boat noise. Experts say this was the safest way to reunite the two. They say sea otter pups are very buoyant, so they won’t sink using this method.

“The positive outcome of the reunion was made possible by good cooperation between our organizations,” said CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Mike Harris. “A quick response, boat support, and experience with sea otters all played a role in giving this newborn female pup a chance to survive in the wild.”

In the video, the mother eventually swims over and scoops up her pup.

The rescuers captioned the post, “all in a day’s work.” At the end of the video, rescuers are seen waving to the pair.

This all comes after the Marine Mammal Center and its partners at Monterey Bay Aquarium recently released two southern sea otters back to the wild in Monterey Bay. Both of the otters are female. They were implanted with tracking devices to help scientists better understand and protect their species.

“Southern sea otters are a threatened species, and the opportunity to release these females back to the wild is a big boost to the future health of this population and surrounding ecosystems,” says Dr. Shawn Johnson, Director of Veterinary Science at The Marine Mammal Center. “We are so grateful to our wonderful partners in Morro Bay for their quick assistance in making this rescue and reunification possible.”

The center has responded to more than 350 stranded sea otters since 1995. 23 sea otters have been rehabilitated.