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Los Gatos Girl's Puffin Video Goes Viral

49-second 'cute' footage of aquatic bird and 9-year-old interaction at Monterey Bay Aquarium has received 8,000-plus hits on YouTube.

A still frame of the 49-second video of Los Gatos girl Dakota Wood and puffin at Monterey Bay Aquarium.
A still frame of the 49-second video of Los Gatos girl Dakota Wood and puffin at Monterey Bay Aquarium.

A 49-second video of a Los Gatos girl engaging a Horned Puffin behind a water-filled giant glass enclosure at the Monterey Bay Aquarium has gone viral.


Mom Bobbi Jo Wood, who shot the video with her iPhone, said she took her daughter Dakota, 9, and older son Joey, to the aquarium the afternoon of Sunday, Aug. 18. 

Soon after arriving, they visited the puffin's aquarium and found the facility was emptying out of patrons due to the lateness of the day. 

The Blossom Hill Elementary School student then stood on one side of the glass enclosure and began slowly hopping from one side to the other and the bird seems to mimic or want to follow her.

"There was nobody in the way," mom said. "It was kind of cool. She had the opportunity to interact with the bird and the bird was so intrigued by her."

"It seemed kind of amazing," mom exclaimed, adding she had taken the video for family purposes, but was so excited when she realized she had captured the special interaction between Dakota and the puffin that she contacted the Aquarium on its visitors' log.

She said she was immediately contacted by Geoff Drake, social media producer for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, who said he would love to see the video.

Wood sent him to the video's YouTube page and on Tuesday when he replied he had posted the footage on all of the Aquarium's social media networks—Facebook, Twitter, etc.

As soon as it hit all those sites, Wood said the video began receiving more and more visitors with every time they visit the page, more and more hits are recorded due to it being shared.

"It's kind of funny. It's just a cute, cute video," Wood said.

When she first posted the video on YouTube it had about eight hits, Wood added. As of this morning, it had 8,161 hits.

Wood said her daughter is so excited by the public's response to the video that she's constantly asking her how many "hits" she's received on it.

She said during some hours of the day, the video will gain a couple of hundred page views in a 15-minute period.

"It's spreading so quickly. It's kind of trip right now for her. She says, 'I'm a celebrity.' "

Wood said she hopes the video will raise awareness about the great work of the nonprofit Aquarium in Monterey whose mission is to "inspire conservation of the oceans."

"The ideal situation would be to create more income for the Aquarium," Wood said. "But, at the same time, my daughter is having a blast with it."

The video's virality has already been recognized by the Viral Spiral company, which contacted Wood on Wednesday asking if she was interested in signing a contract to allow it to use the footage for commercial purposes.

Wood said she's not interested in making money from the video, just supporting the Aquarium. "Ideally, that's who I would prefer profited from it [the video]," she said. "And we, as a family, enjoy very much going there."

The Woods are not members of the Aquarium, but say they're regular visitors and love the facility's different exhibits and its education programs for youth.

Dakota's grandparents have contacted her to tell her "she's famous," mom noted. And ... "she's kind of tripping out on the attention ... Her response is just ... 'How many hits do I have?' "

Correction: This story has been updated. An earlier version said the Horned Puffin water bird was a penguin, when it's not. Everyone makes mistakes, even us. If there's anything else that's amiss in this post, please email Editor Sheila Sanchez at sheila.sanchez@patch.com.

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