Capture & Intake

Capture & Intake

Sea otters can be difficult to capture and must be carefully cared for upon intake.  What are the best techniques for safely capturing and handling injured or oiled sea otters? 

How would oil spill responders and sea otter personnel hold sea otters in a safe place under a triage situation such as during a major oil spill?  In the event of a large oil spill, sea otters would be held in a large, floating net pen that can be easily assembled and deployed in the event of a spill or other disaster. 

On site veterinary support is critical for field research of wild sea otters as well as during an oil spill.  Specially equipped mobile veterinary labs are used to examine, anesthetize, and insert a transmitter and/or flipper tag sea otters just yards from where they are captured.

The thermal needs of sea otters combined with their tendency to bite and chew their way through nearly any material requires that they are housed in specially outfitted kennels for transport or triage.  Below you will find plans with pictures of the best practices for building a sea otter kennel that will keep the animal cool and safe while being transported or waiting for medical attention. 

Ever wonder how researchers are able to safely capture a sea otter without it swimming away?  After many years, researchers have developed several methods for capturing sea otters.  The method used depends upon the circumstances. 

Sea otters are wily animals! For the safety of the animal and the safety of the staff, special techniques have been developed for restraining sea otters for transport, quick medical procedures such as blood draws, or for routine veterinary assessments.

Once a sea otter is brought into the mobile veterinary unit, there are a number of routine procedures that are performed on every otter as part of a routine health assessment survey. Researchers and veterinarians measure the animal’s length and girth and visually assess body condition.

Have you ever wondered how researchers can identify an individual sea otter from shore?  Sea otters that are part of a research program, strand and undergo rehabilitation at The Monterey Bay Aquarium, or who are captured for any reason are given flipper tags with a unique color, placement, and number combination that allow them to be indentified using a spotting scope from shore.