Sacramento, California Off the coast of Santa Cruz, California, a rogue sea otter that has been wrestling surfboards away from surfers and aggressively confronting kayaks was being pursued by wildlife officials on Thursday.
The 5-year-old female otter is aggressive toward humans and a threat to public safety, according to a statement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Videos and images posted to social media show the sea creature aggressively attacking surfers while perched on several surfboards, at least once biting and shredding chunks off a board.
On Saturday in Santa Cruz, California, one sea otter was surfing while another was swimming close.@NativeSantaCruz Mark Woodward
According to the service, a team of wildlife specialists from the neighboring Monterey Bay Aquarium and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife were attempting to capture and rehome the animal.
Despite the fact that there have been no confirmed reports of injuries, the USFWS advised against approaching or encouraging interaction with the otter because of its highly unusual behavior in the area.
The conduct of the otter is quite unusual, according to federal wildlife officials, and its precise explanation is unknown. The otter will be examined by aquarium veterinarians after being captured.
Federal officials stated that aggressive behavior in female southern sea otters “may be associated with hormonal surges or due to being fed by humans.”
They claimed that the otter, who was born in captivity and then released into the wild, has previously displayed aggression toward people.
In May 2022, the sea otter was seen with a pup after returning to the Santa Cruz region, and four months later, it displayed a similar level of aggression.
According to the USFWS, a team of California wildlife regulators and employees from the Monterey Bay Aquarium successfully hazed the otter in September, preventing any future instances throughout the winter.
The Marine Mammal Act, California state law, and the Endangered Species Act all provide protection for southern sea otters, which are also designated as federally threatened under the Act.