The rehabilitation of two new adorable sea otter pups at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium has been going swimmingly.
And now, the public has spoken, and these two previously-numbered pups have received their official names.
Meet Cooper and Watson! After almost a week and a half of voting to kick off Sea Otter Awareness Week, nearly 20,000 votes from across the country poured in to help choose which names best suited Shedd Aquarium’s latest otterly-adorable rescues, Pups 870 and 872.
The first winning name --Cooper -- is in honor of Cupertino, California, and the second winner -- Watson -- is named after the town of Watsonville, California, a location close to where Pup 972 was found.
Both names correspond to California cities near otter hot spots along the coast.
Chicago's Shedd Aquarium asked for the public's help in naming its two newest adorable rescue pups through an online vote.
"Sea otters are named a variety of different ways, but with this kind of vote, we really are able to reach more audiences and people everywhere," Johnny Ford, the communications manager for the aquarium, told "Good Morning America."
The orphaned male southern sea otters, formerly named Pups 870 and 872, were originally rescued by California's Monterey Bay Aquarium before arriving at the Chicago-based aquarium in July.
Shedd's animal care team carefully created a short list of name options inspired by locations off the coast of California, where the sea pups were found.
People voted for the following names starting September 19 and cast their pick through the Shedd Aquarium's website:
- Cooper – named after Cupertino, California (a town near San Jose)
- Watson – named after the town of Watsonville and Port Watsonville (less than an hour away from where Pup 872 was found)
- Bennett – named after Point Bennett (on San Miguel Island)
- Simon – named after Simonton Cove (on San Miguel Island)
- Obi – short for Obispo (for San Luis Obispo)
The vote coincided with Sea Otter Awareness Week, which ran from Sept. 22 through Sept. 28.
The Chicago-based aquarium hosted a similar naming vote in 2014 for another rescued sea otter pup that made waves online. Luna ended up being the winning name.
"That was the most popular vote we had ever seen. People were so glued in to Luna and her story," Ford explained.
Luna's story even captured the attention of famed "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling, who admitted voting for the sea pup's name!
"We want people to be excited about otters and be excited about picking a name for these pups, but there are also some very real things they can do to help sea otters out in the wild, as well," Ford said, such as supporting wildlife protections legislation.
I voted on this orphaned otter's name. My favourite animal named for one of my favourite characters! https://t.co/L8E9fueN7M— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 23, 2015
Since being welcomed at the Shedd Aquarium, Cooper and Watson have been living behind the scenes at the Regenstein Sea Otter Nursery for the past few months.
A hands-on team has been helping the pups acclimate to their new environment and reach developmental milestones.
Today marks the pups' official public debut -- the same day the results of the vote were announced.