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Published on Sep 27, 2019
Time to meet Rosa the Sea Otter, the matriarch of the Sea Otter exhibit! At 20 (!) years of age, she's our oldest sea otter—and also one of our blondest! Quick aside: the grizzling of sea otters doesn't have much to do with age—you can see from her pup photo that she was born blonde: https://gph.is/g/ZnxglRK
Rosa was found stranded as a four-week-old pup in north Monterey Bay in September 1999. She weighed just over five pounds at the time! In April 2000 she was released back to the wild, where she spent nearly two years as a wild sea otter—but unfortunately she began interacting with divers and climbing onto kayaks.
Because of the potential risks to Rosa and people, federal wildlife officials declared her non-releasable, and we welcomed her back to the Aquarium as a permanent resident in June 2002.
During her years at the Aquarium she's put her maternal instincts to work—before her recent retirement, she'd reared more pups than any other active surrogate mother!
Rosa gets her name from a character in John Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat—the first of the author's novels set on Cannery Row. Thanks for all of your hard work and years of service to your species, Rosa!