Earlier this year, the Monterey Bay Aquarium found two male baby otters—just weeks old—on the coast of California with no adult sea otters in sight. Now both 5 months old, the sea otter pups are learning how to forage, dive, and groom themselves in the Regenstein Pup Nursery at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium.
They’re known as Pup 870 and Pup 872, but the aquarium is asking for your help in re-christening the lovable creatures with cuter names. Perhaps wary of ending up with otters named Otty McOtterface, John Cena, or something worse, the animal care staff created a short list of names to choose from, which all relate to the sea otters’ native California habitat.
The options are Cooper (after Cupertino, California), Watson (after Watsonville, California), Obi (short for San Luis Obispo, California), Bennett, or Simon (after San Miguel Island’s Point Bennett and Simonton Cove, respectively).
You can vote here as many times as you’d like between now and September 28, and the winning names will be announced the following Monday, September 30. At that point, the sea otter pups will start their gradual transition from the nursery to the Regenstein Sea Otter Habitat, where visitors will have a chance to see them.
The naming contest is part of Shedd Aquarium’s observance of Sea Otter Awareness Week this week, which aims to educate the public about otters’ role in the marine ecosystem and encourage us to protect the species.
“Sea otters are around today because enough people came together and demanded protections like the Endangered Species Act,” Peggy Sloan, Shedd’s chief animal officer, said in a press release. “The best way we can ensure the continued survival of species like sea otters is by making your voices heard with elected officials, letting them know that you oppose the weakening of any kind on protections like the ESA.”
While you’re waiting to find out which names come out on top, celebrate Sea Otter Awareness Week with some otter facts.
[h/t Shedd Aquarium]