Karl Mayer, Animal Care Coordinator, Sea Otter Program

Areas of Expertise: Sea Otters, Animal Care, Science & Conservation

Karl Mayer manages stranding response, animal care, release and post-release monitoring of all live-stranded southern sea otters in California for the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Program. He has been with the aquarium since 1993.

With his staff, Karl developed and refined the aquarium’s successful use of adult female exhibit otters as surrogate mothers who rear stranded sea otter pups for release to the wild. These unique methods form the basis of a long-term research study designed to evaluate the effectiveness of surrogacy techniques. The challenges and successes of this program are highlighted in the 2013 PBS Natureprogram, Saving Otter 501.

While at the Aquarium, Karl is pursuing a master’s degree in marine science at Moss Landing Marine Labs. His thesis research focuses on acanthocephalan parasites in the southern sea otter, and involved collaborations with Dr. Melissa Miller and others at the Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center in Santa Cruz, as well as Dr. Murray Dailey of The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. 

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