Meet Nova – SeaWorld San Diego’s Otterly Adorable Sea Otter

Photo Credit: SeaWorld San Diego

Thanks to SeaWorld fans from across the country, a new otter who arrived at SeaWorld in March now has a name–Nova! Followers on Facebook and Instagram were asked to vote on five different names, and Nova won by a large margin. She is a star!

A young southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) was found stranded with no mother in sight on a beach in Cambria, California in March of 2018.  Marine-animal experts from Monterey Bay Aquarium took her in and provided care and stabilization. She was given the designation of MBA   #820-18 and was paired with a resident adult female otter who would act as a surrogate mother.  Approximately one year later and in good health, 820 was outfitted with a tracking transmitter and released back into the wild along Monterey.

After much travel and challenge, she was rescued again by the Monterey Bay Aquarium team to improve her chances of survival, and they continued to care for her until she made a full recovery and was deemed non-releasable by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Photo Credit: SeaWorld San Diego

In March, she was brought to SeaWorld, where she is thriving and getting to know the other sea otters at Otter Outlook. SeaWorld San Diego is one of only a handful of facilities in California that rehabilitates and cares for southern sea otters.

Nova was deemed non-releasable by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and transported from Monterey Bay Aquarium to SeaWorld where animal care specialists have been caring for rescued sea otters for more than 40 years. She has been thriving in SeaWorld’s care, eating about 20 percent of her body weight daily and getting to know her pool mates: five sea otters ranging in age from 10 months old to 9 years old. 

“Nova” is the feminine singular form of the Latin adjective novus “new,” and it is commonly used in reference to Nova Stella “new star.”

Throughout its 56-year history, SeaWorld has come to the rescue of over 36,000 animals. Just last year, SeaWorld San Diego participated in the rescue of Cinder – a northern sea otter who was found orphaned and stranded in a strong current. In February 2020, SeaWorld also participated in the rescue and long-term rehabilitation of Spruce, a four-month-old northern sea otter, who was found stranded up in Alaska back in January. Both animals were taken to the Alaska SeaLife Center for veterinary care before coming to SeaWorld.

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