With the help of many concerned citizens in Homer, a young sea otter was rescued Wednesday afternoon. Around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Debbie Tobin, Assistant Professor of Biology at the Kachemak Bay Campus, started getting calls from people who had spotted a small sea otter pup in the middle of Kachemak Drive, close to Mud Bay.
When she got there at 3 p.m., people were directing traffic around the pup. They were trying to coax the pup back in the water which was close to shore because it was high tide. She says the pup was a female, estimated to be about two to three months old.
Tobin says otter pups can be feisty so she wanted help, but couldn’t reach anyone from the Homer marine mammal stranding network.
She then contacted Martin Renner, an ornithology instructor at the college. The two of them corralled the small pup into a kennel. Tobin says the pup was vocalizing, calling out for its mother. They put the kennel near the water for about ten minutes, hoping her cries would attract another otter.
The pup was later taken to Soldotna and given to staff from the Alaska Sealife Center’s Marine Mammal Rescue and Rehabilitation unit, who then took the pup to their facility in Seward.
Tobin speculates the pup was separated from its mother during recent rough seas. She says a stranded sea otter pup that has lived in captivity can’t be released back into the wild. That’s because it hasn’t had enough time to learn survival skills from its mother.
Tobin says quick action by people who first discovered the lone pup in the middle of the road likely saved its life.