The Legacy of Olive the Oiled Sea Otter

The Legacy of Olive the Oiled Sea Otter
Olive pup IMG 5580dfg 1024x683 The Legacy of Olive the Oiled Sea Otter

Joe Tomoleoni/USGS

The sea otter world lost a real ambassador to the species when Olive the Oiled Otter was found dead at the end of March 2015 due to a shark bite.

Olive is one of the success stories in rehabilitating an oiled sea otter.  In February 2009, she was found stranded at Sunset State Beach, in Santa Cruz County, California, having been oiled by a thick, tarry substance coming from a natural seep off the California coast.  Olive was about a year old at the time she was found.  Olive was given her name because olive oil was used to try and loosen up the heavy oil that she was covered in.  A dedicated team of state agencies and organizations were instrumental in Olive’s recovery, using a new protocol in washing oiled animals.  She was released back into the wild and was continually monitored, especially, of late, by California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist, Colleen Young.  Olive not only survived and recovered, but went on to successfully give birth to and wean 3 confirmed pups.

Olive’s story took on great interest for the public, through a Facebook page ( ) and numerous media stories about her.

Friends of the Sea Otter is saddened by the news to have lost Olive, and we will never forget what she meant to sea otter recovery by demonstrating that we can successfully rehabilitate an oiled sea otter.







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