A sea otter in California has performed two amazing feats: She was the first otter in the state to ever survive an oil leak, and this summer she became the first oiled otter to give birth. She was spotted swimming in the Monterey Bay with her healthy pup last week.

Olive, the otter, was discovered on a beach in Santa Cruz in 2009 covered in oil. The black tar coating her fur is believed to have come from natural sources rather than an oil spill from a ship. The deep oil reserves along the California coast occasionally leak, and Olive was caught in the path of the tar.

When she washed up at Sunset State Beach, Olive was very weak. Hungry, dehydrated, and exhausted, she attracted the attention of visitors to the beach, who took her to the Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center. She was coated in olive oil (hence her name; she was also named after Olive Oyl, of Popeye fame) to loosen the sticky tar, and washed with liquid dish soap.

After weeks of recovery, in which Olive was given a special diet and bathed in soft warm water, Olive was able to return to her home in Monterey Bay. She was fitted with ID tags, a microchip and a radio transmitter, so scientists from the research center could continue to track her progress.

Olive, the sea otter, in recovery after an oil leak in 2009.

She quickly returned to her old life — becoming the first sea otter to ever survive a coating in oil. Otters (unlike seals, and other marine mammals) don’t have any blubber, which puts them at a great risk of hypothermia in an oil spill. They also groom their fur, and can easily die from ingesting toxic oil.

In July, the researchers brought Olive in for a checkup and discovered she was pregnant. The birth of her healthy pup is an important moment for the research center, since it’s so rare for animals in oil spills to survive, let alone reproduce.

Olive and her pup can be followed on her Facebook page.

Main image Joe Tomoleoni/U.S. Geological Survey; secondary image Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center.