Tag Placement

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.

Flipper tags are placed using a special instrument which puts a small hole in the webbing between the toes of the sea otter. These tags are placed as part of the intake exam in the mobile veterinary unit. Sometimes, sea otters lose these tags and they must be replaced.