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Abandoned baby sea otter rescued in Morro Bay

An abandoned baby otter was found on the Morro Bay sandspit on Oct. 19. The malnourished animal is being nurtured back to health at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
An abandoned baby otter was found on the Morro Bay sandspit on Oct. 19. The malnourished animal is being nurtured back to health at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Courtesy of Morro Bay Harbor Patrol

A malnourished baby otter, found by kayakers stranded on the beach at the Morro Bay Sandspit last week, is recuperating in Monterey.

The female otter was discovered alone on Oct. 19 and is believed to have been abandoned by her mother, said Becka Kelly, a Morro Bay Harbor Department patrol supervisor. Kayakers reported their find to the department, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium is treating the pup.

Kelly said it’s unusual for an infant otter to be beached on the shore, and the department initially tried to find the mother in the nearby waters.

“We really don’t know how the otter got separated,” Kelly said. “We drove it around (by boat) to let it call out to its mom, but there was no response.”

The department then contacted the Marine Mammal Center in Morro Bay, which coordinated the otter’s treatment with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where it’s being nurtured back to health.

Aquarium officials believe the animal was only a day old when it was found. It weighed only 2.62 pounds, which is extremely small for a pup, said Angela Hains, an aquarium spokeswoman.

“She may have never had the benefit of having mom’s milk, so her lack of immune development means that she will require intensive care over the next several weeks,” Hains said. “Sea otter caregivers are guardedly optimistic about her prognosis.”

“Everybody’s heart bleeds for a baby animal,” Kelly said. “I think this one really tugged on people’s heartstrings.”

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