Surprise wild otter born at Monterey Bay Aquarium

WATCH: A newborn baby otter was the center of attention this weekend at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The mother spent the afternoon grooming her pup because puffing up the fur makes it easier for the little one to float in the water.

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Monday, December 21, 2015

Monterey Bay Aquarium welcomed an adorable surprise guest this weekend: a baby otter.

The aquarium has a protected basin called the Great Tide Pool. A wild adult otter was spending more time than normal in the basin, and staff was beginning to get worried something was wrong with her Saturday.

“It’s rare for a healthy sea otter to visit the pool so frequently,” staff wrote on the aquarium’s blog.

When staff returned at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, the otter mom had given birth to a pup.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

The sea otter and her pup have returned to the wild and are unlikely to come back to the aquarium. Photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium

The newborn had just been born, as the umbilical cord was still attached and the placenta intact.

According to the aquarium’s Twitter, the mom and pup returned to the kelp forest yesterday afternoon, likely to forage for food.

The otter is not tagged and Monterey Bay Aquarium said on Periscope she’s unlikely to return to the Great Tide Pool.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

A wild sea otter gave birth in the Great Tide Pool at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Staff said it’s a conservation success story, since wild otters were hunted nearly to extinction in the early 1800s. It is estimated that barely 50 were left, but thanks to legislation banning hunting, the population has rebounded in California to nearly 3,000.

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