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We all know how profound and powerful a mother’s bond can be with her child, but rarely do we get to see the moments that define it.

Until now, that is.

A pregnant wild sea otter took shelter in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Great Tide Pool last weekend, where it gave birth in front of a stunned audience. It’s not the birth that caught our attention though, it’s what happened afterwards.

As soon as the mother successfully delivered her pup into the world, it was as if the love had already been there for years. She immediately embraced her newborn and began grooming it–an act that helps keeps pups warm and buoyant.

Since then, their bond has only grown, as the pair have now been delighting visitors for days:

The wild sea otter mom and pup that captured our hearts this weekend will likely move soon from our Great Tide Pool to the kelp forest out in the bay so mom can forage for a much-needed meal! Mother otters certainly have their paws full nursing and grooming a newborn pup, as you can see in this clip. By the time a pup is two months old, it’ll have shed most of its fluffy pup coat and be doing lots of exploring and even a bit of diving. Soon it will be playing its role as a keystone species, keeping kelp-grazing sea urchins in check!

Posted by Monterey Bay Aquarium on Monday, March 7, 2016

Staff at the aquarium say mom will soon have to leave the pool to forage for food. But in just two months, the pup will likely be able to explore for itself and even dive a little.

So we guess that old saying is true: They really do grow up so fast.

Conservation works! This week we’ve been privileged to see and share the birth of a wild sea otter pup right in our own…

Posted by Monterey Bay Aquarium on Monday, March 7, 2016