Sea otter mom, pup return to wild

A wild sea otter mom and pup spent three days in the Great Tide Pool outside the Monterey Bay Aquarium before heading out to sea.

The aquarium wrote, "There are busy days ahead as this otter mom teaches her pup how to dive, collect food and other skills needed for life in the wild."

The sea otter mom headed into the Great Tide Pool outside of the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Saturday to find shelter from the storm. She found a rock where she gave birth to her pup in front of a delighted crowd.

It's not every day you get to watch a sea otter pup come into the world! But when a pregnant wild otter took shelter in our Great Tide Pool Saturday, we had a unique opportunity to see it happen. Sea otters can give birth in water or on land. You'll notice that mom starts grooming her pup right away to help it stay warm and buoyant--a well-groomed sea otter pup is so buoyant it's practically unsinkable! For more video of the birth (spoiler alert: the miracle of life is graphic!) check out our YouTube channel: . Besides keeping the pup afloat, grooming also helps get the blood flowing and other internal systems revved up for a career of chomping on invertebrates and keeping nearshore ecosystems, like the kelp forests in Monterey Bay, and the eel grass at Elkhorn Slough, healthy.Our sea otter researchers have been watching wild otters for years and have never seen a birth close up like this. We're amazed and awed to have had a chance to witness this Monterey Bay conservation success story first hand in our own backyard. Welcome to the world, little otter!

The Monterey Bay Aquarium posted on Facebook, "It was an amazing moment. Not that long ago, southern sea otters were hunted to near extinction but now, thanks to legislative protection and a change of heart toward these furriest of sea creatures, the otter population in Monterey Bay has rebounded. With the Bay in our backyard, we've been fortunate to witness this resurgence first hand."

After several busy days of grooming her pup, the pair departed the Great Tide Pool on Wednesday.

This comes after a different sea otter gave birth in the Great Tide Pool at the end of December. The pair hung around for days, making national headlines.