Staff at the Audubon Aquarium is calling her “otterly” adorable, and we believe that’s a fair description.
An 18-month-old female sea otter who hails from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Research and Conservation (SORAC) program arrived at the Louisiana aquarium this week, and is acclimating to her new digs — a 25,000-gallon sea otter habitat! — just fine, thanks in part to her cherry red Jolly ball, a favorite toy that she was allowed to pack in her suitcase.
Watch in the video above as the unnamed cutie plays with her ball while caretakers describe the intense preparations that needed to take place in order get this girl to her permanent home (a whopping 21-hour journey).
The young otter was found abandoned on the beach in September of 2015 when she was just 1 day old. After attempts to release her back into the wild proved unsuccessful, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined she needed to remain in captivity.
“We are thrilled to be able to provide a new companion for Clara,” said Beth Firchau, director of animal husbandry at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, mentioning the facility’s existing otter. “Having the ability to care for this rescued otter, and support southern sea otter conservation with our partners, makes bringing this new sea otter to New Orleans that much more exciting and significant.”
The Audubon Aquarium wants the public’s help settling on a name for the otter; it’s a tradition to name SORAC animals after John Steinbeck characters or people in his life. Click here to case your vote!