OAN Abril Elfi
2:10 PM – Thursday, July 13, 2023
A sea otter in Santa Cruz, California was captured on video stealing surfboards from locals once again on Monday.
California wildlife authorities gave the five-year-old female otter the identification number “otter 841.” She had been seen jumping on surfers’ boards and biting down on them, as she tries to steal unaware surfers boards. Since last weekend, her behavior has grown noticeably more combative, according to locals.
It appeared that the wild sea otter had developed an obsession for stealing surfboards from Westside surfers. In the water, the otter has snatched six longboards.
Local photographer Mark Woodward, also known online as Native Santa Cruz, posted a video of 841 latching onto a surfer’s board before scaring the owner away on Monday. She then continued to eat while the surfer tried to shoo her away for a while. In another case, a surfer left the board for a group of otters to “romp” with, but the biggest one decided to stick out on the board for a while before a nearby sailing boat was able to save it. This past weekend, 841 allegedly made three attempts to take a surfboard.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the California Department of Fish have gotten involved.
To securely “capture and rehome” Otter 841, the state agency told The New York Times that it was collaborating with the Monterey Bay Aquarium. 841 is still evading captivity despite efforts to find her. The otter will be placed at the aquarium, where she will spend the remainder of her days, before being moved to another permanent residence.
“This sea otter was observed with a pup after returning to the Santa Cruz area in May 2022. She exhibited similar unusual behavior in the Santa Cruz area in September 2022, at which time CDFW and Monterey Bay Aquarium staff successfully hazed the otter preventing further incident throughout the winter,” the Fish and Wildlife Department said in a statement to Gizmodo.
Kayakers and surfers are advised by federal officials to avoid interacting with any otters that may be there. Woodward tweeted that local authorities had put up notices at the well-known surf spot cautioning people to stay clear from the “aggressive sea otter in this area.”
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