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Two sea otter pups lie side by side with their eyes squinted shut in slumber.
A fluffy otter pup rests in the arms of a Shedd staff member.
Two otter pups, one on the left slightly darker and one on the right lighter and with its mouth slightly open, get hands-on grooming from two trainers armed with fluffy white towels.

Cooper and Watson were previously referred to by their intake numbers, 870 and 872, respectively, given to them when they were rescued by our partners at Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The pups, both males, were only a few weeks old when they were found stranded at separate sites on the coast of California, with no mother or adult otters in sight. The pups were cared for at Monterey Bay Aquarium. Shedd Aquarium’s Animal Response Team flew out to California to assist in their care and accompany them home to Chicago.

Since their arrival at Shedd, the 5-month-old pups have been living behind the scenes in the Regenstein Pup Nursery while animal care staffers teach them how to be otters: helping them build important skills like foraging, diving and grooming their dense fur.

Now the animal care team is gradually introducing them to the public habitat, so guests might have their first opportunity to see the pups in person.

A fluffy otter pup lies on its back with its arms raised above its head.

In their new home at Shedd, Cooper and Watson will be ambassadors for their species as we share their stories and remind guests that sea otters need our continued protection. Shedd Aquarium’s Animal Response Team and partners like Monterey Bay Aquarium are committed to helping as many sea otters as possible, but we can’t do it alone.

Sea otters survive today not just because of aquariums like ours, but because of conservation legislation like the Endangered Species Act, which helped the marine mammals recover from near extinction.

Be sure to also voice your support for continued strong legislation like the Clean Water Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act. Sea otters depend on our collective support for these critical protections. Please help ensure that their populations continue to recover and thrive far into the future.