An Otter In California Is Hassling Surfers and Stealing Their Boards

An aggressive sea otter in Santa Cruz, Calif., is hassling locals by riding the boards it stole from surfers in the lineup. Steamer Lane is a legendary point break nestled among the rocky shores and is home to swaths of experienced surfers, as well as a 5-year-old female sea otter with a growing reputation for repeatedly confronting surfers and kayakers. Videos across social media show the otter hoisting itself out of the ocean and onto boards while surfers sit back in awe. At times, she has chewed on the boards or forced surfers to surrender their boards altogether. Onlookers can be heard laughing in jest at the surfers’ misfortune, but officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say the otter poses a public safety risk. They are warning surfers and kayakers not to approach the otter, citing the fact that the otter’s behavior is “concerning and unusual.” Officials say it could be associated with hormonal surges or from being fed by humans. A team from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Monterey Bay Aquarium is looking for the otter to catch and re-home her.