The most incredible thing happened at the Monterey Bay Aquarium over the weekend.
A wild sea otter, seeking refuge from some stormy weather off the California coast Saturday, made her way to the facility’s great tide pool where she hopped up on a rock and gave birth to a pup as guests and staff looked on in wonder.
“It was an amazing moment. Not that long ago, southern sea otters were hunted to near extinction but now, thanks to legislative protection and a change of heart toward these furriest of sea creatures, the otter population in Monterey Bay has rebounded,” the aquarium noted.
Onlookers broke into applause and cheers as the loving mother went to work immediately grooming and cuddling her young pup.
This has got to be love at its purest. And, most adorable.
And, the internet gushed with joy. Just look at this video posted on Monday.
“Our sea otter researchers have been watching wild otters for years and have never seen a birth close up like this,” the aquarium said. “We’re amazed and awed to have had a chance to witness this Monterey Bay conservation success story first hand in our own backyard. Welcome to the world, little otter!”
Officials don’t expect the pair to linger in the great tide pool for much longer as they venture to the kelp forest out in the bay to forage for food.
In case you’re wondering, the aquarium did capture the birth on video. Perhaps some words of warning: Nature doing what comes naturally can be a bit graphic. It is birth after all. But do watch and you’ll see that the new mother starts grooming her pup right away. This helps the newborn stay warm and buoyant.
“Besides keeping the pup afloat, grooming also helps get the blood flowing and other internal systems revved up for a career of chomping on invertebrates and keeping nearshore ecosystems, like the kelp forests in Monterey Bay, and the eel grass at Elkhorn Slough, healthy.”
This is, at the aquarium points out, “otterly amazing.”