This reunion is otterly beautiful.
The group isn’t totally sure how the pair got separated.
“A likely explanation, although we'll never know for sure because mom didn't stick around to tell us, is that she dove to forage... either a boat came by, or the very strong tide in the area that day made the baby float away,” they wrote in a Facebook comment. “Mom came up and couldn't find her pup. Perhaps she was an inexperienced mom who didn't know what to do next.”
The female pup seemed healthy, but at only two days old, couldn’t survive on her own, the group explained. They determined the best option was to try and locate the animal’s mother. That’s when Mike Harris, a sea otter biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and a team of volunteers came in.
In a boat, the crew held up the pup to show her to adult females swimming in Morro Bay Harbor. When one approached the boat, they decided it was time to try the reunion.
Harris tossed the pup into the water, then watched and waited. Sure enough, the mother otter swims over and grabs the pup in what seems like a joyous reunion.
The group explained on Facebook why they had to toss the pup the way they did.
“He needed to put distance between the boat and the mother-pup pair so the mom would come get the pup,” they wrote in a comment. “She wasn't going to get the pup if it was too close to, or on, the boat.
But don’t worry — the little pup was never in danger.
“The pup toss was performed by a senior sea otter biologist with over 25 years of experience,” the group said. “He knew the pup would be just fine with a gentle toss. Sea otter pups physically can't sink... even if you held one underwater it would just going BOING back to the surface... so he knew it would be ok in the water.”
If they hadn’t located the mother, they would have cared for the pup themselves. Luckily, the family now appears to be back together again.