Starving Otter Pup Found On Beach Nursed Back To Health

Otter Found In Santa Barbara County

A 5-day-old California otter found weak and starving on a remote beach in Santa Barbara County is being nursed back to health at SeaWorld, it was reported Thursday.

The orphaned otter still had her umbilical cord attached when she came ashore July 21 at Jalama Beach. Wildlife officials don't know why the pup was abandoned by her mother, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Animal care specialists at SeaWorld are nurturing the female pup 24 hours a day. She has gained about a pound since arriving at the theme park and now weighs 3.85 pounds and measures 19 inches long, the newspaper reported.

"She gains about a tenth of a pound a day," said Mark Bressler, a member of the caretaking team, the Union-Tribune reported.

Usually, sick or abandoned sea otters found along the state's coast are taken to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but there was no room to house the newborn otter there last week, according to the Union-Tribune.

Interaction with humans has sealed the newborn's fate; she almost certainly will spend the rest of her life in captivity, the newspaper reported.

The final decision on the newborn's permanent home will be made within a month by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Ventura, said Lilian Carswell, a sea otter biologist for the agency, according to the Union-Tribune.

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