Although small, sea otters have a big impact. The Aquarium's Sea Otter Program rescues, rehabilitates, releases and researches this iconic species — for the recovery of their vital population and for resilient coastal ecosystems.
From orphan to mother, Luna's rescue and recovery illustrate the impact your gift can have. Thanks to you, we're taking bold action for sea otter survival.
Luna was lost in a storm at three days old. We found her helpless, hungry and crying for her mother. We brought her into our Sea Otter Program, which is solely funded by the kind support of our donors.
Over eight weeks, we nursed the orphaned southern sea otter back to health. Once she was able to eat solid foods, we introduced her to exhibit otter Toola, who taught her about life as a wild sea otter. Diving for food, breaking open shells and grooming her dense coat, Toola raised Luna as one of her own.
Eight months passed. It was time for Luna to be released into the wild. A coastal wetland about 20 miles north of Monterey called Elkhorn Slough became Luna's new home. She entered the waters like she had never left, eager to dive, forage and hunt, just like Toola had taught her.
Since Luna's release in 2011, she has birthed and raised five healthy pups. She is now nine years old and being her otterly paw-some wild self.
Our research has shown that nearly 60 percent of the sea otters in Elkhorn Slough are either graduates of our Sea Otter Program or their descendants. We've also seen tremendous recovery of this entire ecosystem thanks to the presence of otters like Luna. We now know how integral sea otters are to the health of our coastline.
No other institution in the world matches our robust approach to sea otter recovery. Our program's success is made possible by donors like you. With your support, we can continue pushing the boundaries of sea otter recovery.