A sea otter at Cowell’s Beach in Santa Cruz garnered headlines around the country for its unusual behavior.
The otter, identified as Otter 841, has recently taken to climbing aboard unsuspecting surfers’ boards, resisting pleas to move on and even aggressively staking a claim. Caught on video, the otter rolled from the top of the board to the bottom after the surfer, who had crawled into the water, flipped the board over in hopes of shaking the animal loose.
Wildlife officials say the 5-year-old female southern sea otter is exhibiting “concerning and unusual behaviors,” including repeatedly approaching surfers and kayakers.
“Sea otters are naturally wary of people, but this individual has been aggressively approaching people and biting surfboards,” officials say.
“Due to the potential public safety risk, a team from CDFW and the Monterey Bay Aquarium trained in the capture and handling of sea otters, has attempted capture of the sea otter when conditions have been favorable since July 2,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife say.
On Monday a crew on paddleboards and in a boat gingerly approached the otter who dined on shellfish while keeping a distance from them.