Pets & Animals

Shedd Aquarium's rescued sea otter makes extraordinary (and adorable) progress

PUPDATE! A young southern sea otter rescued off the California coast this past January has made remarkable progress at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, where she now lives. And luckily for us, she's been doing some seriously cute showing off in front of the camera!

Brenna Hernandez / Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez
The otter is known as 'Pup 719,' referring to the number of sea otters taken in by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's program since 1984.

In a YouTube video posted by the aquarium, the rescued pup seems to be "making herself right at home" — gliding and spinning under the water and then taking a few gleeful snack breaks.

RELATED: Rescued sea otter pup is safe, sound and adorable

The 13-week-old sea otter found her way to Shedd back in February, after she was rescued by Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Otter Program staff on Carmel Beach in California.

Brenna Hernandez / Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

At the time of her rescue, the small pup was alone and in critical condition, according to a press release from the aquarium.

RELATED: You really otter see this: Pup 681 goes for a squeaky swim

Brenna Hernandez / Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

She was quickly brought to the aquarium's intensive care unit, where she was given a thorough exam and named "Pup 719" — a moniker denoting her place in the line of otters taken into Monterey Bay Aquarium's program since 1984.

Brenna Hernandez / Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez
'Southern sea otters are a keystone species, playing a disproportionately large role in the health of their ecosystems,' said Tim Binder, executive vice president of animal care for Shedd, in a press release from the aquarium.

RELATED: Healing hoops: Sea otter plays basketball to ease arthritis

It is believed that the changing environment is leading to higher ocean temperatures associated with heavy storms — storms that are leaving many otter pups stranded from their mothers. Rising temperatures also reduce the habitat available for sea otters, shrinking kelp cover in the ocean.

Brenna Hernandez / Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

Four out of the five sea otters at Shedd are rescues — and three, including Pup 719, came through Monterey Bay Aquarium's program.

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