MONTEREY (CBS SF) — The staff at the Monterey Bay Aquarium who were wondering why a wild sea otter was spending so much time in their Great Tide Pool in the past week found out when the female sea mammal gave birth to a baby pup Sunday morning.

The sea otter had been taking refuge in the protected basin of the tide pool during the recent winter storms since last week, according to staff blog posts. Noting that it was unusual behavior for a healthy sea otter, staff at the aquarium started to get concerned for the animal’s welfare.

The reason behind the behavior became clear Sunday morning when staff saw the sea otter grooming a brand new baby pup on her belly.

A female wild sea otter gave birth to a pup in the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Great Tide Pool over the weekend (Monterey Bay Aquarium).

A female wild sea otter gave birth to a pup in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Great Tide Pool over the weekend (Monterey Bay Aquarium).

Aquarium staff members and visitors watched from the facility’s back deck as the pup became fluffier and fluffier with the new mother otter’s continued grooming, according to the blog post. The post noted that sea otters were hunted to near extinction during the early 1800’s, but that the aquatic mammal has made a remarkable recovery with some 3,000 sea otters living off the coast of central California alone.

A female wild sea otter gave birth to a pup in the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Great Tide Pool over the weekend (Monterey Bay Aquarium).

A female wild sea otter gave birth to a pup in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Great Tide Pool over the weekend (Monterey Bay Aquarium).

The Aquarium’s uploaded photos of the newborn sea otter on it’s Facebook page Sunday afternoon and the post went viral. It has since been shared over 9,000 times and has been liked by over 20,000 people.

 

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