CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - The newest addition to the Shedd Aquarium family is already stealing the hearts of Chicagoans and she’s not even on display yet.
An orphaned sea otter pup named "Pup 719" was rescued from a Carmel Beach in Carmel, California on January 6, and she arrived at the Shedd Aquarium on January 27.
The now 10-week-old pup is being watched around the clock at the Shedd aquarium.
“We have 6-8 individuals devoted to her care,” said Lana Vanagasem, the Shedd Manager of penguins, sea otters and dogs, who adds they are watching her around the clock.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium found her on the beach and her mother was nowhere in sight. The same day, a very strong storm pushed through the area causing large swells in the bay, possibly pulling the pup away from her mother.
Shedd trainer Michael Pratt was the lucky one tasked with bringing the pup home to Chicago.
“When you have an otter in your hands and you are feeding her a bottle, it's pretty hard not to swoon and fall in love with her,” said Pratt.
Her name comes from a long line of other rescued animals.
“719 is the number they get from the Monterey Bay Aquarium because that many otters have gone through their rescue program,” said Vanagasem.
She said through the years, they’ve taken in 11 sea otter pups.
Southern sea otters have back webbed flippers, a thick dense fur coat made up of 700,000 - 1 million hairs per square inch, and not to mention a very fast metabolism.
“They eat about 25 percent of their body weight every single day, so it's like us eating 10 pizzas,” said Vanagasem.
Shedd visitors already fell in love with Luna in 2014, who is another rescued otter.
After a couple of months in this pod, visitors will also get to fall in love with 'Pup 719' who will get a new permanent name soon.
In just a few months, the pup will be welcomed into her new home at the Sea Otter exhibit with the other 4 sea otters.