Orphaned Otter Pup Arrives at Shedd Aquarium: Photos

The week-old female was found stranded on a beach in Southern California.

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A sea otter pup was found alone on a beach in Southern California on Sep. 30, after a local citizen heard its cry. Soon, staff members from the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Sea Otter Program were on the scene to help the animal. After four weeks of rehabilitation at Monterey Bay's facilities, the otter was transported to her new home at Chicago's famed Shedd Aquarium. We'll find out a bit more about the otter pup's rescue and rehabilitation as we check out some painfully cute pictures from its new life at Shedd.

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The young female was estimated to be about a week old and weighed just 2 pounds when she was first rescued. That's very small for a newbie sea otter. "It was critical that we begin to get calories into her as quickly as possible," noted Karl Mayer, animal care coordinator for the Monterey Bay Aquarium sea otter program, in a press release.

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There are only a few facilities in the United States that have the space and experience to care for an orphaned otter. Shedd Aquarium is one of them, and it was quick to accept Monterey Bay Aquarium’s request to provide the stranded pup with a permanent home and thirsty towels.

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For the moment known only as "Pup 681," the youngster is the second pup from the threatened southern sea otter population to reside at Shedd Aquarium.

Shedd's animal care and veterinarian teams are giving little 681 the full round-the-clock treatment.

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A rotating schedule of six to eight animal care experts provides care at all times.

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During this nurturing time, 687 will stay out of sight of the public, in Shedd's Regenstein Sea Otter Nursery. She'll be busy developing behaviors such as grooming, foraging and feeding. She'll also start regulating her own body temperature by getting in and out of the water.

Shedd Aquarium staff report that 681 is hitting new benchmarks all the time. She is taking formula from a bottle, eating solid foods such as shrimp and clams, and even climbing on white towels when she gets wet to help her groom and regulate her body temperature.

"Our animal care team is teaching the pup how to be an otter," said Tim Binder, vice president of animal collections for Shedd Aquarium, in a statement.

By all accounts, 687 has been doing well since her arrival, the aquarium says. Things, in fact, seem to be going swimmingly.

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