August 2, 2013

Olive the Otter Gives Birth to Second Pup

Photo: Olive and her second pup, seen here from a CDFW spotting scope.
photo courtesy of Olive's Facebook page

Olive the Otter has given birth to a second pup since she was found emaciated and covered in naturally occurring oil in 2009. The Capitola sighting of the chipped and GPS-equipped miracle otter has further proven that rehabilitation and rescue efforts are well worth it. 

In February 2009, Olive was found sickly and drenched in black sticky tar at Sunset Beach in Santa Cruz. The Marine Wildlife Care and Veterinary Research Center quickly took action to remove the toxic oil from her fur. They used olive oil and dish soap and warm water soaks to remove the sludge from her fur while plumping her up on a diet of shrimp and abalone. 

Researchers and veterinarians were amazed when she was able to return to Monterey Bay just two months later. Otters are at particularly high risk if anything happens to their fur because they do not have blubber to keep them warm like most ocean mammals. They are also meticulous groomers and will ingest oil that has become stuck to their fur. Olive was the first California otter known to survive being coated in oil.  

Not only did Olive survive, she flourished. She frolicked and joined other otters as if she hadn’t been away and in a short time she was pregnant. In September 2012, she had given birth to her first pup which scientists say is a state first for a rehabilitated otter. 

This week, Olive’s caretakers and fans say she has been spotted near “The Hook” in Capitola with another healthy young pup. Olive’s remarkable recovery and the birth of her two pups are awesome demonstrations of the power of treatment efforts made by our coastal veterinarians, scientists and caring volunteers. Great job! 

You can visit Olive’s Facebook page for photos and video of her and the new baby! Congratulations, Olive!

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