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Oregon Zoo welcomes new orphaned sea otter pup

"805" - Oregon Zoo photo

PORTLAND, Ore. – An orphaned sea otter pup is joining the Oregon Zoo family, and will soon take up residence in the Steller Cove habitat!

The pup currently goes by “805,” the number he was assigned after he was found orphaned along the California coastline in late October. The two-month-old weighs roughly 14 pounds, officials said.

He spent some time with the rescue and care team at Monterey Bay Aquarium, but was unable to pair up with a surrogate mother. U.S Fish and Wildlife found that he was unable to be released back into the wild.

“When they’re young they float like corks, but he’s learning to dive now and loves showing off,” said Oregon Zoo marine life keeper Sara Morgan, who traveled to Monterey last week to meet the pup and help prepare for his trip north. “He’s full of spunk, very squeaky and fun to be around. He also takes a lot of naps — that’s when he’s at his fluffiest.”

The pup was transferred to Portland on Friday and is currently in the zoo’s nursery. He will eventually be a permanent resident at the Steller Cove habitat.

The pup has starting to groom himself and enjoys his seafood diet, which Oregon Zoo staff says are both good indicators he’s settling in at his new home.

“Right now he definitely has a preference for shrimp,” Morgan said. “He seemed insulted when I tried to offer him squid.”

On Friday, officials announced the passing of longtime Oregon Zoo resident Judge the sea otter. “805” will be joining Eddie and Juno, the zoo’s other sea otters.

Earlier this year, river otter Tilly gave birth to two new pups.

More information on sea otters from the Oregon Zoo:

Sea otters, once abundant along the Oregon coast, were hunted to extinction here in the early 1900s and have not established permanent residence in the state for more than a century. A few visiting otters have been sighted in recent years, notably in Depoe Bay in 2009. Though currently protected from hunting by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, they continue to be threatened by oil spills, fishing nets and infectious diseases.

Sea otters are considered a keystone species and play critical role in the Pacific Coast marine ecosystem, promoting healthy kelp forests, which in turn support thousands of organisms. Learn more about the Oregon Zoo’s sea otters and how to help protect the species in the wild.

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