HUG ALL THE OTTERS: Would we hug a Southern sea otter if we had the chance? No way; otters gotta do their otterly awesome thing and we humans gotta do ours. But can we, in our hearts, imagine a world where our extreme otter love is known and appreciated by every adorable otter out there? We can. More importantly, we can show our support for places like Monterey Bay Aquarium, which devotedly works to further otter conservation issues in numerous important ways. And one of the institution's main paths to helping these marvelous, mollusk-craving, roly-poly mammals? The Sea Otter Surrogacy program, "a pioneering approach to rescuing, rearing and returning sea otter pups to the wild," according to the aquarium.
SEA OTTER AWARENESS WEEK... is on now, from Sept. 20-26, and to celebrate this most excellent occasion the aquarium is spotlighting its wonderful and wild charges. Some wild pups, previously found stranded on California beaches, have recently spent time with aquarium otters Selka and Kit in the aquarium's two-story otter exhibit. This was a "rare" moment, shared the aquarium team, "because we don’t want the otters to get comfortable around humans so they are typically behind-the-scenes. However, since the Aquarium is currently closed to guests, the pairs had the opportunity to spend some time in the exhibit, and people were able to watch them interact live via the Aquarium’s Sea Otter Cam as they practiced diving and exploring."
ALSO SWEET? Surrogate moms Selka and Kit gave the young wild otters some maternal schooling on grooming techniques and how to feed themselves. You can check out the camera, throughout Sea Otter Awareness Week, for more adorable video, or read up on the surrogacy program now. And here's something heartwarming, if you're wondering how many "graduates" have moved on from the aquarium over the years: "From 2002-2016, Aquarium staff released 37 surrogate-reared pups in Elkhorn Slough, a national estuarine research reserve." Over three dozen otters successfully sent on their wild way? That's paws-itively inspiring.