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Santa Cruz wildlife officials are on the hunt for an otter outlaw

Published Jul 24th, 2023 8:06PM EDT
sea otter like otter 841 swimming in the water
Image: James / Adobe

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A sea otter in Santa Cruz has wildlife officials scurrying to catch it after a series of thefts and aggressive behavior at a popular surf spot. The otter in question is known as Otter 841, and it was originally released into the wild in 2020. However, Otter 841 has become the target of a group of wildlife officials looking to catch and rehome her.

The reasoning behind the hunt is because of Otter 841’s behavior as of late, which has seen the creature confronting locals in the area and even stealing surfboards from the beach. Despite the trouble it might be causing, the otter has garnered some attention from others, with support for the small otter growing internationally.

The goal is to catch the unusually aggressive otter and rehome her to an aquarium or zoo. Otter 841 was originally raised in the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where she was fed and minimally cared for by staff dressed in black rubber suits and welding masks, which helped hide their human appearance.

sea otter like otter 841Image source: Steve / Adobe

They also believe that Otter 841’s behavior around the beach is because she doesn’t have a healthy fear of humans. Her first interactions with humans along the beach began in September of 2022. However, she was driven from the area, only to return sometime within the past couple of months.

During that time, many have followed the international icon as she has confronted locals about being in the area and even stolen some items to munch on. However, attempts to catch her have gone without much progress. This otter isn’t the only animal garnering international attention, either. Killer whales attacking boats have also managed to garner a lot of attention, though not for good reasons.

While wildlife officials hope to rehome the outlaw otter, others say that Otter 841 should be allowed to stay in her natural habitat and that humans should be the ones leaving the area instead. It’s unclear how long it might take them to corner and eventually catch Otter 841. For the moment, the tiny outlaw continues to be a nuisance to Santa Cruz beachgoers.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.