An orphaned sea otter pup weighing just under 6 pounds has been welcomed by Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.
The female pup, who is currently being referred to only as “Pup 681,” has captured the hearts of millions on social media.
Photos released by the aquarium show the pup frolicking with toys and her caretakers.
According to the aquarium, Pup 681 arrived at Shedd in late October from Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, where she spent the first four weeks of her life being stabilized.
The pup has been doing well since her arrival, receiving continual care behind the scenes of Shedd’s Abbott Oceanarium.
“Pup 681’s situation was urgent,” said Tim Binder, Vice President of Animal Collections for Shedd Aquarium. “This rescued animal provides an opportunity for us to learn more about the biological and behavioral attributes of this threatened species and to encourage people to preserve and protect them in the wild.”
Estimated to be only one week old and weighing in at just over 2 pounds, the female pup was found on September 30 on Coastways Beach in California between the San Mateo and Santa Cruz county line. A citizen on an evening walk heard the newborn otter’s cry and quickly notified The Marine Mammal Center.
Stranded sea otter pups require extensive round-the-clock care and there are only a handful of facilities in the United States with the available space, staff and experience to provide the appropriate care.
To ensure the pup receives everything that she needs, a rotating schedule of six to eight animal care experts provides care and attention 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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