Spring traditionally brings new beginnings and hope. While the world continues to stay at home during this uncertain time, we wanted to share some positivity happening just outside our doors – the birth of adorable baby animals! Monterey County, California is home to an abundance of aquatic and land-dwelling wildlife, and the start of spring means wildlife throughout the region are having babies. Baby animals are an instant pick-me-up, and we want to share a few ways to virtually see cute and cuddly critters that call Monterey County home.
Gray Whales and Orcas
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is well-known for its year-round whale watching. Springtime, however, is an extra special time of year with the birth and sightings of baby gray whales and orcas. Watch the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Monterey Bay webcam for a chance to see whales in their natural habitat or follow Monterey Bay Whale Watch on Facebook. Monterey Bay Whale Watch is conducting non-public research surveys during the shelter-in-place order and sharing their daily whale findings online.
Sea Lions and Seals
Sea lions are the most common marine mammal in Monterey County. They are frequently spotted sunbathing on beaches. The majority of Pacific harbor seal pups are born during the first two weeks of April, with popular rookeries including the Hopkins Marine Station and the Pacific Grove coastline. Follow the Harbor Seals of Pacific Grove on Facebook for daily updates and adorable pictures of the seal pups and their mothers.
The endangered California condor is North America’s largest flying land bird that once faced near extinction in the 1980s. Thanks to organizations like the Ventana Wildlife Society in Big Sur and its partnership with Pinnacles National Park in Soledad, the population is growing. Natural breeding is happening in the wild with 101 wild range California condors living on the central coast. Tune in to the Explore.org live Condor Cam for a unique opportunity to see a baby condor chick from Condor “Redwood Queen” #190, who was released in 1999. “Redwood Queen” #190 is paired with “Kingpin” #167, who can also be observed on the live webcam.
Monterey County’s beloved mascot, the sea otter, sees a boom in pups during springtime. The Elkhorn Slough Safari counted 22 sea otter pups in the Elkhorn Slough Reserve, a record number for the recovering population that is in large part thanks to Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Program. The Aquarium is the epicenter of sea otter recovery, rescuing orphaned pups and ill or injured adults. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the facility received special permission to move rescued sea otters, who normally remain behind the scenes and away from the public, into the exhibit tank for special enrichment. It is a unique opportunity to give these young otters access to a deeper, more complex living space as they dive, frolic and explore under rocks and in tunnels. Tune into the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Cam to watch the rescued pups learn new skills to prepare for their release back into the wild. Then jump over to the Elkhorn Slough Foundation website to watch wild sea otters in their natural habitat.
We look forward to welcoming you here to see our incredible wildlife firsthand when the time is right. Until then, we hope this will brighten your day.