Monterey Bay Aquarium

This Otter, a Surrogate Mom to Many, Is Celebrating a Birthday

Rosa, a Southern sea otter, has mothered 15 stranded pups. To honor her big day, Monterey Bay Aquarium is throwing her a party, and you can watch.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

What to Know

  • Rosa, a Southern sea otter, is turning 22
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium, where she lives, will share her birthday party on the Sea Otter Cam
  • The otter has provided motherly care to 15 stranded pups over the years

OTTERS? They're otterly, utterly adorable, what with their clownish antics, acrobatic moves, and unabashed curiosity about everything, and everyone, they encounter. But behind the clowning and cuteness, the Southern sea otter can also play other important, conservation-aiding roles. Look to Rosa, a longtime resident at Monterey Bay Aquarium. Rescued in the fall of 1999, she put in a short stay at the Cannery Row institution before being returned to the ocean. She "... ultimately proved to be too interested in humans to remain in the wild," and, with that in mind, she has made a home at the aquarium since June 2002. Since that time, Rosa has proven to be a doting surrogate mother, ably tending to some 15 stranded pups delivered to the aquarium in order to recover and gain strength before heading back to the Pacific.

TO CELEBRATE ROSA, and as a treat to her fans, wherever they might be, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is treating her to some treats, in honor of her 22nd birthday, on Tuesday, Aug. 31. Eager to pay homage to this eminent animal? Tune into the Sea Otter Cam at 1:30 in the afternoon to see the sweet, live-from-Monterey scenes. And if you're watching with your kids or other otter-obsessed people, here are some furry-fun facts to share: "At least one of the female pups Rosa reared has raised multiple offspring in the wild, contributing to the recovery of the threatened southern sea otter species on the Central Coast," shared the aquarium, which also revealed that her name hails from John Steinbeck's novel "Tortilla Flat."

THIS NOBLE ANIMAL... is a larger otter, comparatively, and can often be seen chilling at the water's surface after she has eaten (look for her "freckles" and silvery head around the exhibit's middle window). And Selka, one of her pups? She is now also a surrogate mom to other little otters in need, the next generation doing an otterly good job at aiding the aquarium's conservation efforts.

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