-- A wild sea otter gave the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif. a pleasant surprise when she gave birth to an "otterly" adorable sea otter pup this weekend.
Monterey Bay explained in a blog post that for the last several days, "a wild female sea otter had been using the protected basin of our Great Tide Pool to rest from the winter storms." The aquarium added that it's "rare for a healthy sea otter to visit the pool so frequently" that staff "started to wonder if she was doing all right."
The mystery was solved, this past Sunday around 8:30 a.m. local time, when staff "witnessed a BRAND NEW pup resting on her belly, being furiously groomed by a proud momma," Monterey Bay Aquarium blog said. "We're talking umbilical-chord-still-attached, whoa-is-that-yep-that's-the-placenta new-born otter pup!"
Since then, the aquarium's staff have been taking photos and video of the adorable mom-and-pup duo melting the hearts of millions.
Though, the two "may decide to head out any time," the two were still in the Great Tide Pool as of today, the website added. The mommy sea otter has been filmed and photographed playing, grooming and swimming with her newborn baby.
The aquarium added that not that long ago, sea otters were hunted to "near extinction."
"Maybe 50 were left in all of California by the early 1800's," Monterey Bay said in its blog post. "But now, thanks to legislative protection and a change of heart toward these furriest of sea creatures, the otter population has rebounded to steady levels in the Monterey Bay, and with 3,000 total in central California."