Homer, AK – Wildlife rescuers with Alaska SeaLife Center bore witness to a dramatic incident in Homer on September 9. According to a news release from the organization, laboratory technician and wildlife response team member Natalie Hunter was on a fishing trip with friends when they noticed two orcas nearby.
While the group watched the orcas, they noticed an otter nearby who did not try to swim away from the predators. Upon closer observation, they could see that she was carrying a pup.
After an “impressive” tail slap from one of the orcas, the mother and pup were separated; the whales turned their attention to the mother and she endured a series of attacks before she finally failed to resurface.
The whales eventually left the area and the orphaned pup could be heard crying for her mother. Hunter said:
“My brain was in wildlife response mode during the entire incident, thinking we, unfortunately, may have an otter pup rescue on our hands. It wasn’t until the entire event ended, the wild orcas had left the area, and the pup started crying out for its mother that I knew we had to think about the next move.”
After being given permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the group on the boat was able to pull the otter pup from the water. Hunter said, “Her cries were gurgly, and when we got her out of the water, she was soaked. Her coat wasn’t repelling water and keeping her buoyant like it should have been.”
The pup was transported to the center for care and staff determined that she was no more than a day old…perhaps just hours hold.
The pup will receive round-the-clock care to help ensure her survival.
Learn more about the Alaska SeaLife Center at this link.