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Fall In Love With Baby Sea Otter 501

Otter pup “501” is the 501st sea otter to be rescued since the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s rehabilitation program began in 1984. California sea otters are struggling in the wild and no one quite knows why.

1. “501” is a three-day old abandoned female otter pup taken in by the Monterey Bay Aquarium

2. After she’s taken in, the Aquarium’s team gets 501 to begin accepting “otter milk formula” from a bottle

3. This “Darth Vader”-like disguise tries to mask the human form so the newborn doesn’t become attached to them

4. …even though they’ve taken on the role of otter mom

5. Otter 501 has a few things to learn: like how to groom her fur and swim, rather than just float

6. The plan is for 501 to be accepted into the surrogate program where she will raised by Toola, the Aquarium’s original surrogate mother otter

7. Toola teaches her young student a series of basic otter lessons: how to dive, how to find food, how to break open and eat whole clams

8. Toola & 501: One happy family!

The story of 501 and The Monterey Bay Aquarium airs on Nature on PBS on October 16.

The Aquarium is invested in saving and growing the sea otter population not just for the benefit of the otters themselves, but because they are a “keystone species” in the ecosystem. NATURE on PBS will air ‘Saving Otter 501’ Wednesday, Oct 16

11. A clip from the episode

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