Watch otter pup get reunited with mom after being separated by tide

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Otter pup reunited with mom after being separated by tide
A baby otter was reunited with its mother in the wild after a strong tide separated them.

A baby otter less than 48 hours old was reunited with its mother in the wild after a strong tide separated the two, and the sweet, rare moment was captured on video.

The Marine Mammal Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif, was called in on May 26 after the baby otter was separated from its mother. As it was so young, it was not able to do much more than float, the center wrote on Facebook.

Biologist Mike Harris and veterinarian Dr. Heather Harris went out on a boat with the Morro Bay Harbor Patrol in hopes of locating the mom. A representative from the center explained to ABC how they did it.

"Mike and Heather took the pup by boat through Morro Bay, testing responses from multiple adult females by presenting the pup in front of other sea otters. The otters looked up but wouldn't approach the boat.

"They knew they had found the mother when she responded immediately to the pup's vocalizations and swam over to the boat to retrieve her pup."

Once they knew they'd found the right otter, the pup was tossed far enough away from the boat for her to come get it. This was the best way to get him in the water, according to the center.

"Sea otter pups physically can't sink... even if you held one underwater it would just going BOING back to the surface," the center explained on Facebook, adding of Mike, "He knew the pup would be just fine with a gentle toss."

In the video, the mom pops out of the water to get her baby and the two can be seen floating away together.

Sea otter reunions in the wild are rare, the center wrote, and in this case it's likely that the pup's life was saved.

The video has been viewed more than 200,000 times on Facebook and received hundreds of comments, many of them thanking the volunteers or calling them heroes.

"Our volunteers don't do this work with any expectation of any sort of recognition or appreciation," the center replied. "They do it simply because it needs doing."