Mother Otter Jumps onto Boat to Escape Orcas, Cries as She Can’t Save her Baby from Predators

This heart-wrenching video captures nature at its most raw.

Shot on the icy waters of Tutka Bay in Alaska, the footage shows the moment a mother sea otter leaps aboard a motorboat to escape the jaws of killer whales.

Seconds after the animal clambers onto the the safety of a platform at the back of the small vessel a huge killer whale can be seen bursting through the surface of the water in an attempt to eat the otter.

A mother otter clambers aboard the platform of a motorboat as the white underside of a killer whale comes after her. She escapes, but unfortunately her baby was not so lucky.

The boat provides respite for the frightened mother, but her baby is left with the near impossible challenge of fighting off the deadly attackers herself.

According to the film which has been posted on YouTube, the helpless baby is caught and eaten by one of the predators and the seemingly distraught mother is seen letting out high-pitched wails.

After the motorboat carries her away from the scene, the otter jumps back in the water and desperately tries to find her offspring but to no avail.

The killer whales circle the boat as they try to hunt down the otter and her baby

Sea otters, whose numbers were once estimated at 150,000–300,000, were hunted extensively for their fur between 1741 and 1911,

and the world population fell to 1,000–2,000 individuals living in a fraction of their historic range.

A subsequent international ban on hunting, conservation efforts, and reintroduction programs into previously populated areas have contributed to numbers rebounding, and the species now occupies about two-thirds of its former range.

The worried sea otter mother looks directly at the camera as she perches aboard the platform at the back of the motorboat
The sea otter screams in either pain or in a desperate attempt to be reunited with her baby

The recovery of the sea otter is considered an important success in marine conservation, although populations in the Aleutian Islands and California have recently declined or have plateaued at depressed levels. For these reasons, the sea otter remains classified as an endangered species.

Sea otters in Alaska are nursed for between four and 12 months, with the mother beginning to offer bits of prey at one to two months.

The milk from a sea otter’s two abdominal nipples is rich in fat and more similar to the milk of other marine mammals than to that of other mustelids.

After being taken to safety the otter dives back in the water and continues to call out to her offspring, but to no avail

A pup, with guidance from its mother, practices swimming and diving for several weeks before it is able to reach the sea floor. Initially, the objects it retrieves are of little food value, such as brightly colored starfish and pebbles.

Juveniles are typically independent at six to eight months, but a mother may be forced to abandon a pup if she cannot find enough food for it; at the other extreme, a pup may nurse until it is almost adult size.

Pup mortality is high, particularly during an individual’s first winter – by one estimate, only 25% of pups survive their first year. Pups born to experienced mothers have the highest survival rates.

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