A 5-year-old sea otter in Santa Cruz, California, has been causing trouble by stealing surfboards from surfers, leading officials to take action. Known as Otter 841, this female otter has gained a reputation for her bold behavior and ability to ride the waves.
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The exact reason behind her aggressive actions is unknown, but it could be related to hormonal surges or being fed by humans. Efforts are underway by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Monterey Bay Aquarium to capture and relocate her.
Sea otters are an endangered species protected by law, and interactions between otters and humans are typically rare. However, this otter has become habituated to humans, which poses risks for both her and people. Once captured, she will be transferred to an aquarium and unable to return to the wild.
Once on the brink of extinction, the southern sea otter population now numbers around 3,000 individuals. Surfers and beachgoers must avoid interacting with the otter and report any encounters to the appropriate authorities. Sharing these interactions on social media can be misleading and detrimental to the animal.