Aquarium Of The Pacific Welcomes Three New Sea Otter Pups Elle, Bee, and Cee To Their Habitat
By The Big Magazine Staff
The Aquarium of the Pacific is welcoming three new sea otter pups, who were deemed non-releasable to the wild by the US Fish and Wildlife Service because they were unable to survive in the ocean.
The baby sea otters (one male and two female) can be seen at the Aquarium’s Sea Otter Habitat in the Northern Pacific Gallery starting today on World Ocean Day (June 8).
The pups were named Elle, Bee, and Cee, whose names pronounced together represent the letters “LBC” in celebration of the city of Long Beach.
Elle was found stranded as a ten-day old pup at Marina State Beach in June 2022. In January 2023, Bee was found stranded as a three-week-old pup at Morro Strand Campground. Cee was found stranded as a five-day-old pup at Carmel Beach in January 2023. After Elle’s rescue, she was taken to Monterey Bay Aquarium where staff attempted to pair her with a surrogate mother in the hopes of one day returning her to the wild. However, this pairing was ultimately not successful as the two did not bond, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service deemed Elle non-releasable. For both Bee and Cee, at the time of their strandings, there were no available surrogate sea otter mothers. Therefore, they were also deemed non-releasable.
“For the past two years, we have been temporarily housing young sea otters with the goal of freeing up space in the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Otter Surrogacy Program so more sea otter pups have a chance to return to the wild,” said Brett Long, senior director of birds and mammals, Aquarium of the Pacific.
Through this partnership, the Aquarium of the Pacific has been building a new area to serve as an additional location where adult female sea otters can serve as surrogate mothers to stranded sea otter pups with the goal of release back to the ocean.
Southern sea otters are listed as a threatened species on the Endangered Species List. These marine mammals play a vital role in maintaining the health of kelp forests, which provide habitats for a variety of animals. Sea otters do this by eating sea urchins, which would otherwise grow out of control and eat the holdfasts of kelp. For that reason, they are known as a keystone species, which means they play an important role in the ecosystem. If a keystone species is removed or suddenly disappears from their ecosystem, then the ecosystem begins to fall apart.
The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is a community gathering place where diversity and the arts are celebrated and where important challenges facing our planet are explored. The Aquarium is dedicated to conserving and building nature and nature's services by building the interactions between and among peoples. Home to more than 12,000 animals, Aquarium exhibits include the Babies! gallery, Coral Reefs: Nature’s Underwater Cities, Pacific Visions, and Shark Lagoon. Beyond its animal exhibits, the Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages, including First Wednesdays featuring guest speakers. The Aquarium offers memberships with unlimited FREE admission for 12 months and other special benefits.
To make a donation to help support the Aquarium, please visit Pacific.to/donate. To visit, advance reservations are required for everyone and can be made at aquariumofpacific.org or by calling (562) 590-3100. The Aquarium of the Pacific is located at 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802.
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