SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — For the first time ever, a sea otter conceived in the wild has been born in captivity, according to researchers at University of California Santa Cruz.

The birth happened at UC Santa Cruz’s Long Marine Laboratory on November 26 and was not widely publicized at the time to limit the pup’s exposure to people, according to a university spokesman.

The pup’s mother, Clara, had been rescued from a beach and it had been determined she had become too accustomed to people to survive on her own, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Researchers at UC Santa Cruz are limiting human interaction with the pup while studying Clara’s caloric needs as she nurses.

Otter moms often are so depleted from nursing their pups that they are left skinny, weak and prone to infection and disease. The condition is known as end-lactation syndrome.

Otters are listed as a threatened species and there are about 3,000 otters off the California coast, just under the threshold which would remove otters from the list.


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