Featured Image Credit: Vancouver Aquarium
By: Kira Krall
A sea otter pup between two to four weeks old began crying and following a boat near Vancouver Island, Canada this past June. The boaters didn’t see another sea otter in sight, so they took the allegedly orphaned pup back to Port Hardy and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). DFO then arranged for the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Center to pick up the baby otter, named Hardy shortly after he was admitted to the Center.
DFO and the Aquarium stated that the best course of action would have been to report the baby otter. Careful observation by either agency may have located the mother, who could have been on a hunting trip while her baby was floating safely at the surface. The boaters had good intentions, but handling protected species like sea otters is illegal without a proper permit.
Baby sea otters are high maintenance according to the Vancouver Aquarium and mother otters tend to their pups almost constantly. They feed and groom their pups and teach them how to hunt once they get old enough. Staff and volunteers were in rotating shifts to simulate this maternal care.
Four months later, Hardy was introduced to potential adoptive mom Tamu. The fellow rescue moved into the tank and within minutes had Hardy on her chest, the standard mother/pup sea otter pose. After a brief “get to know you” period, Hardy began following Tamu around as she swam and dove around the tank. Watch the video of the introduction below!