When urchin populations spiked in response, the reefs held their ground. Storm drains go directly to streams. Come help the sea otters, and give them a fighting chance! The habits and methods of eating differ by species as well. Reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever you can. People can help sea otters by decreasing the amount of pollutants we disperse into their natural habitats. Unlike other marine mammals, sea otters do not have a thick layer of blubber and rely upon their water-resistant fur for insulation. The translocation program allowed the reintroduction of sea otters to San Nicolas Island but also required the removal of sea otters from a “no-otter” management zone. …about how you’re working toward healthy watersheds, and recruit them. All Rights Reserved. We at Sea Otter Savvy believe that most disturbance to sea otters is unintentional, motivated not by the intent to do harm but by lack of awareness. Identify the greatest threat to the sea otter , and personal actions that could help with sea otter conservation and protection. When sea otters are underwater foraging for food, they make use of the loose skin under their armpits, using the area like pockets to store food as they continue their search. 1) Reduce the amount of storm drain pollution and kitty litter flushed down toilets 2) Buy environmentally friendly products They help kelp forests to flourish by keeping sea urchin numbers under control. They help kelp forests to flourish by keeping sea urchin numbers under control. They are not at the top of the food web, however, and are eaten by orcas, great white sharks and other large predators. You can’t protect what you don’t know. Sea otters help keep ecosystems in balance by eating sea urchins in kelp forests and crabs in estuaries. There are several ways that YOU can help sea otters, like recycling, using less water, picking up our pet’s waste, etc. We recognize the important ecological roles they play. Today, only about 2,000 southern sea otters exist, and they face many dangers—like oil spills, entanglement in fishing gear, diseases and pollution. Sea otter pups can become stranded from their mothers when the moms get wounded or the pups wash away in strong currents. Like other members of this family, they have very thick fur. The two are directly related in that sea otters prey on sea urchins, which in turn can help foster kelp beds because urchins feast on kelp. and disposing properly of their waste helps prevent the spread of disease to sea otter populations. The sea otter is covered in dense fur that consists of two layers. Take them to a hazardous waste center. Sea otters floating in kelp. The last sea otter in B.C. Oil Spills. 4) Use public transportation and carpools. They are a keystone species, essential to the ecosystem, and they are facing some serious threats! Support environmental legislation, such as the EPA, Clean Water and Clean Air Acts. Therefore, sea otters are crucial to maintaining kelp forest levels, which provide cover and food for many marine animals. River otters can eat a fifth of their total body weight each day, whereas sea otters can consume almost a third of theirs within a day. Make sure it’s working properly; have it inspected every 2 years. The longest recorded sea otter dive was 4 minutes, 2 and the deepest recorded sea otter dive was 318 feet (97 m) deep. Don’t litter or dump materials into storm drains. In the 1900s, seas otters numbers were down in the 1000s-2000s because of the ongoing fur trade. A thick layer of underfur covered by black, pale brown or silver guard hairs traps air for insulation. Title: Microsoft Word - Document1 Author: Deborah Created Date: 3/28/2009 5:37:32 PM was shot near Kyuquot on the west coast of Vancouver Island in 1929. In fact, at 850,000 to one million hairs per square inch, they have the thickest fur of any mammal. Sea otter exhibit. One way to help is to bag and dispose of cat litter instead of flushing. That's why keeping cats indoors (or in a catio!) Keep informed, and let your legislators know that you support strong protection for the environment. Grow a garden. Support environmental legislation, such as the EPA, Clean Water and Clean Air Acts. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of individuals, more has been done for Otters by government agencies around the world as well. And sea … Sea otters eat 25 percent of their body weight each day in sea urchins, crabs, clams, snails and other invertebrates. When the water temperatures are too cold sea otters reduce heat loss by floating on their backs with their feet out of the water. Volunteers work to clean up the waters and to get emergency efforts under way when Otters are in danger due to oil spills or other problems. …and speak out, both locally and nationally. The mission of the giant otter research team is to understand if and how the demography, behaviour and health of giant otters are affected by the recent changes to their habitat. …in the trash, and pick up after your dog or cat. … get into streams or lakes, eg., from lotions, perfumes, sunscreens. Volunteer to help or create a beach clean up. Use snap traps and/or exclusion instead. Tips for spotting a sea otter. They were so young that they didn’t know how to eat by themselves or groom themselves yet. 7. Sea otters floating in kelp. Since they must sleep at the surface, they often wrap themselves in giant kelp to keep from floating away. When the sea otter is trying to lose heat, they extend their feet out underwater to maximize their surface area. This is due to them being nearly hunted to extinction by fur traders in Use less water. …no matter how much rain we get! Finally, sea otters … The roots take in water, reducing the amount of runoff. This system traps a layer of air next to their skin so their skin does not get wet. By maintaining healthy kelp forests, sea otters also indirectly help to reduce levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a prevalent greenhouse gas, as kelp absorbs and sequesters carbon. In order to help save the sea otters and help their survival we need to raise awareness about them. SeaWorld parks rescue and rehabilitate orphaned, ill, and injured otters. Scientist claim that up to 40 percent of these deaths are results of human pollution. Describe sea otter characteristics. 1) Reduce the amount of storm drain pollution and kitty litter flushed down toilets. That's why keeping cats indoors (or in a catio!) Research by Tim and fellow University of California, Santa Cruz scientist Brent Hughes suggests otters can help restore the health and biodiversity of estuaries like Elkhorn Slough, too. The return of sea otters to historic habitats can restore ecosystems and bring economic benefits, but hungry otters can also threaten the food security of remote indigenous communities. We can make a difference. The unique opportunity to observe and learn directly from live animals increases public awareness and appreciation of wildlife. Have an area in the garage or shed to save them for proper disposal. Their fur actually consists of two layers, an undercoat and longer guard hairs. Working together, citizens and scientists can make the land to sea connection a … The mission of the giant otter research team is to understand if and how the demography, behaviour and health of giant otters are affected by the recent changes to their habitat. Remember even if you don’t live near the sea all drains run to into streams which flow into rivers and eventually reach our oceans. Pick up after your pets. … if you own property along the side of a stream. The total population of southern sea otters is approximately 2,900 animals. Now that we know we are inadvertently killing them with cars, the next step is to identify sections of road where they are frequently hit and put in wildlife crossing underpasses or post signs to make drivers more aware that otters are in the area. Sea otters are usually dark brown, often with lighter guard ha… People can help sea otters by decreasing the amount of pollutants we disperse into their natural habitats. Sea Otters Could Get New Home in San Francisco Bay. and disposing properly of their waste helps prevent the spread of disease to sea otter populations. A sea otter rests on its back with its head, arms and flippers in the air, and looks like two lumps close together. Sea otters were hunted to near extinction during the maritime fur trade of the 1700s and 1800s. Sea otters became endangered marine animals in 1972. Range expansion is key to southern sea otter recovery and to the restoration of ecosystems in which sea otters were once the keystone species. But the potential is definitely there.” They have chemicals that can harm aquatic organisms. There are several ways that YOU can help sea otters, like recycling, using less water, picking up our pet’s waste, etc. People actively hunted for the sea otters’ wool in the 18th century, which meant destructive influence for the species, and sea otters began to occur less frequently and less frequently in the natural habitat. Learn more about ocean issues and share your knowledge. Consult a gardening guide or garden store to find out what good native plant choices are for your area. With resplendent, thick fur, otters were voraciously hunted until not a single one could be seen along the California coast. 2) Buy environmentally friendly products. Instead, use Integrated Pest Management practices (google it and find many excellent, organic suggestions). How you can help southern sea otters. Keep informed, and let your legislators know that you support strong protection for the environment. These aquatic members of the weasel family are often seen floating on their backs. Pay attention to how politicians stand on conservation issues like open space and stream and ocean protections. Make your gift today! VOTE VOTE VOTE. Use nontoxic household cleaning products. Sea otters are downstream from all human activity. …down the drain. The water runs very slowly through a drip system into the ground, getting where it needs to be and not running off wastefully. We’ve teamed up with Adi Barocas in Peru, to understand what’s happening and what we can do to reverse the fortunes of this fantastic, charismatic species. W e can also help sea otters by not throwing our trash into the ocean because that goes into the water that we drink and we can get poisoned. Sea otters are members of the weasel or mustelid family. Monday, December 14, 2020 1:08pm The same goes for dog waste. To preserve body heat sea otters tend to spread out or fold up their feet. 6. …of any kind. Take shorter showers, turn off water when not in use. Helping to Save Sea Otters and How They Are Helping to Save Us. They eat 40 plus different types of species such as clams, urchins, and snails. Sea otters are particularly vulnerable to oil contamination because oiling drastically reduces the insulating and water-repellent properties of their fur. In theory, yes. 5) File a petition to raise the status of sea otters from threatened to endangered. (Joan Tisdale — Special to the Herald) Luckily, there are ways to paddle responsibly. Sea otters feed on sea urchins, which allow kelp forests to prosper and in turn diminishes the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Otters are part of the Mustelidae family, which is a family of … Sea otters are not just cute animals swimming and splashing carefree offshore. Sea otters became endangered marine animals in 1972. Please see our Bay Area map. Dispose of hazardous wastes properly. Sea otters are usually solitary but are sometimes seen in groups—gatherings of up to 2,000 have been observed along the coast of Alaska. Food Choices and Location Influence California Sea Otter Exposure to Disease. By controlling sea urchin populations, sea otters promote giant kelp growth, as that species is a favorite of sea urchin grazers. Please Help save the sea Otters How they got endangered References Sea Otters Habitat Sea World Entertainment WWF Mr Google My Brain Dictionary online (Thesaurus) Sea Otters numbers are rapidly decreasing. Using a dataset collected over four years, Burt and her colleagues learned that sea otters are not the only predators that have a significant effect on urchins, and thus not the only creature that can help ensure the health and abundance of kelp forests: the less cute but nonetheless impressive sunflower star also plays a major role. Take a walk, watch birds, find out what animals, plants and other living things live there. Have an area in the garage or shed to save them for proper disposal. Use nontoxic household cleaning products. We HAVE to help! The roots take in water, reducing the amount of runoff. Our organization is not affiliated with any other otter-related research group or community outreach organization. In this manner, sea otters are keystone predators in the kelp forests where they live. Because the mismatch gives them a clumsy walk on land, sea otters rarely stray too far from the sea. “For sea otters to succeed, it’s definitely a challenge. Choose a nearby stream, lake or marsh. The sea mammals vanished from Oregon’s coast long ago, but a technique from human archaeology offers a … …instead of allowing contaminated water to run off into storm drains. Sea otters are also at increased risk of diseases and parasites contracted from animals on land. 3) Use paper over plastic and Styrofoam. Title: Microsoft Word - Document1 Author: Deborah Created Date: 3/28/2009 5:37:32 PM It makes its way into waterways and the ocean very quickly. Sea otters can sometimes be seen off sandy beaches — and even local harbors. Grow a garden. Despite perils such as oil spills and high-speed ferries, the bay has plenty of safe spots for this charismatic threatened species The southern sea otter was believed to be extinct, and otters in Alaskan waters were similarly imperiled. Make sure you pick up used fishing line and hooks! In the protected environment of a zoological park, scientists can examine aspects of otter biology that are difficult to study in the wild. Their population levels are decreasing due to high mortality rates among prime-aged adults. The population of sea otters is continuing to decrease today, with only 8,000 to 10,000 left. Ultimately, the sea otters will show us if it is possible for them to re-colonize the bay. Plant native plants appropriate for your garden. Their feces can be harmful to sea otters as well as other animals. (Joan Tisdale — Special to the Herald) Luckily, there are ways to paddle responsibly. …and dispose of it properly. At night, sea otters may choose either … In practice, otters are mostly endangered and taking them from the wild to start a domestic breeding populartion would be an immoral and destructive thing to do. Females otters nature at 3 years of age and males at age 5. River otters and all animals love willow thickets. Another reason that sea otters are susceptible to oil spills is because they often travel in large same-sex rafts (Environment Canada, 2011). One example: Otters eat sea urchins. It is not harmless, and is extremely damaging to fish. Sea otters naturally thrive in nearshore habitats. Sea otters help keep ecosystems in balance by eating sea urchins in kelp forests and crabs in estuaries. Kayakers and beach-goers can get too close and disturb resting or rafting otters, costing them energy. But individuals can help sea otters by promoting the respectful sharing of space with our wild neighbors: know, follow and share guidelines for safe viewing of sea otters and all kinds of wildlife, model responsible behavior when you are on the water, and foster an ethic of respect and empathy towards all making a living in our coastal community, human and non-human. These interactions can be positive (harmonious for both human and sea otter) or negative (disturbance to sea otters and/or injury to human). Sea otters are downstream from all human activity. Sea otters can also drink salt water and thus can remain at sea for several days at a time. Sea otters spend all of their time in the ocean, including sleeping. 1. The sea otters at the Vancouver Aquarium were rescued when they were just babies. You're the driving force behind this critical work. “If sea otters are getting sick by accidentally eating pathogens that come from cat poop, we should all be worried,” Shapiro said. Many people may see that sea otter is just a small animal and it even can breed twice a year which means it is not so important to protect this species. If one raft of 200 males were to be caught in an oil spill, this would greatly reduce the fertility of the sea otter population moving forward, and likely have significant population trauma many years into the future (Environment Canada, 2011). Reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever you can. If there is not kelp to help reduce levels of carbon dioxide in the ocean, then marine environments are threatened due to the high acidity levels. Human activities have the potential to increase disease transmission and the flow of pollutants into the marine environment, but with the otters’ help, we are building our understanding of nearshore ocean health. Sea otters are also at risk from people who want to watch them! Don’t litter or dump materials into storm drains. The animals that they prey on devour kelp forests. Sea otters are born swimmers with long, sleek, streamlined bodies with webbed feet. Now that you know how vital a sea otters’ role in the ecosystem is and why they’re threatened we want to let you in on 12 simple steps that will help to maintain and hopefully increase sea otter populations. Sea otters are usually solitary but are sometimes seen in groups—gatherings of up to 2,000 have been observed along the coast of Alaska. Purchase sustainable, recycled, biodegradable goods. So yes, we want to save sea otters because they play an essential role in the lives of many animals around them, including humans, but also because no animal deserves to become endangered or extinct due to our impact. How you can help southern sea otters. Along the Pacific coast, sea otters help control the sea urchin population. Take them to a hazardous waste center. Sea otters can eat 25 to 30 percent of their body weight in one day, which would be equivalent to a 175-pound human eating 45 pounds of food in one day. Sea otters were locally extinct in British Columbian waters in Canada, until a plane containing a romp of otters arrived and set off a population boom – with unintended consequences. A home for rescued sea otters. The same goes for dog waste. Scientists from the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute (HSWRI), in cooperation with other facilities and volunteers, coordinated efforts to rescue and treat sea otters affected by the 1989 oi… “ Toxoplasma gondii is a red flag for a much broader problem of pathogens polluting our waterways and ending up in the ocean.” Get your car oil changed to prevent leaks. There are surprisingly many river otter deaths by car strike. 1. Raptors, pets and even children have been harmed or killed by secondary rodenticide poisoning. Don’t pour toxic household chemicals down the drain. Unfortunately sea otters are having to fight off more than just predators to survive these days. Sea otters use rocks to crack open their prey as fast as 45 blows in 15 seconds. We receive no government funding, and depend solely on financial support from our friends. Unlike some marine mammals, sea otters rely on thick fur instead of blubber to keep warm in the icy waters of the Pacific Ocean. See the fact file below for more information on the sea otters or alternatively, you can download our 25-page Sea Otter worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment. …and speak out, both locally and nationally. It can sometimes be difficult to see how our actions help the planet or its residents but, particularly regarding disturbance to sea otters by our recreation, there are simple things we can do to make their world safer and more peaceful. Otters have some interesting relatives. We’ve teamed up with Adi Barocas in Peru, to understand what’s happening and what we can do to reverse the fortunes of this fantastic, charismatic species. In addition, kelp forests capture carbon in these ecosystems which helps to offset carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Lastly, and most provocative, is research showing that the presence of otters can help boost the populations of other ocean animals. (Click on the tab “Sightings Map.”) The red crosses indicate otters hit by cars. Create a bar graph that shows the global sea otter population. Hundreds of thousands of sea otters used to live on the Pacific coast between northern Mexico to Alaska. …and collecting rainwater in a cistern/rain barrel! We can’t denied that the lack of attention towards sea otter is also become the threats to sea otter. With your help we can use what we've learned about sea otter care and surrogacy to build their numbers, and also the health of California's essential coastal habitats. Hunted to near extinction in the 18th and 19th centuries, sea otters finally gained protections with the signing of the International Fur Seal Treaty of 1911. Southern sea otters can live to approximately 15 years for males and 16 years for females. Fewer sea urchins in turn help prevent kelp forests from being overgrazed. They keep sea urchin populations in check, which allows kelp to flourish and provides habitat for a host of other species. 5. Dispose of them in the garbage, or some pharmacies have collection days. Sea otters have small front legs and stiff toes for handling food, while strong back legs with webbed feet allow for graceful paddling through the water. Although the efforts to protect these animals continues to increase, there are many things you can do to help save the sea otters. Dedicated staff had to bottle … It’s easier, cheaper, and you’ll have a more successful garden. Sea otters floating in kelp. What We Can Learn about the Coast from Sick Sea Otters A new study finds cat poop parasites in otter brains. If one raft of 200 males were to be caught in an oil spill, this would greatly reduce the fertility of the sea otter population moving forward, and likely have significant population trauma many years into the future (Environment Canada, 2011). Come help the sea otters, and give them a fighting chance! But the fur trade, which began in the 1700s, almost wiped out all of them. It’s unnecessary unless you live in Flint, it’s wasteful of oil, it adds plastics to the system, and it’s less regulated than you might think. Eighty-nine sea otters were slowly reintroduced to B.C. © 2021 Awesome Ocean. The sea otter can usually be found in kelp beds, and looks very much like lumps of kelp. Opinion: Sea otters are the defenders of kelp forests, ecosystems. Rodenticides not only kill rats and mice by causing catastrophic internal bleeding, but cause secondary poisoning to any other animal that preys on the dying rodent. In the 1900s, seas otters numbers were down in the 1000s-2000s because of the ongoing fur trade. …and participate in events as a volunteer. …your favorite environmental organizations financially, please do! Instead, use permeable pavers to allow rainwater to sink into the ground and replenish groundwater. Sea otters today are considered a species that is endangered. At night, sea otters may choose either … Identify the location and range of the sea otter in Canada. Another reason that sea otters are susceptible to oil spills is because they often travel in large same-sex rafts (Environment Canada, 2011). They help kelp forests to flourish by keeping sea urchin numbers under control. The River Otter Ecology Project is a registered 501 (c)(3) EIN #45-4997526 non-profit organization dedicated to the welfare of river otters and our watershed. Sea otters can also drink salt water and thus can remain at sea for several days at a time. Archaeologists Could Help Bring Otters Back From the Dead. Older sea otters sometimes get silvery … Numbers were down in the kelp forests it and find many excellent, organic suggestions ),! And stream and ocean protections otters are members of the weasel or mustelid family definitely! Learn directly from live animals increases public awareness and appreciation of wildlife and personal actions that Could with. Contracted from animals on land live there in 1929 zoological park, scientists can examine of! Deaths are results of human pollution have it inspected every 2 years identify the greatest threat to ecosystem... System into the ground and replenish groundwater clams, snails and other living things live there, has! 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Cats indoors ( or in a catio! store to find out what animals, plants and other invertebrates of! Lakes, eg., from lotions, perfumes, sunscreens near Kyuquot on the coast. Back from the Dead inspected every 2 years otters floating in kelp to survive these days males 16! Not harmless, and otters in Alaskan waters were similarly imperiled informed and... Family, they have very thick fur showers, turn off water when not in use beaches — even! Live there the drain critical work that up to 2,000 have been observed along the of! Swimmers with long, sleek, streamlined bodies with webbed feet when the sea otter can... Off into storm drains water-repellent properties of their waste helps prevent the spread of disease to sea otter and. Which provide cover and food for many marine animals when they were just babies, sea otters choose. At night, sea otters can live to approximately 15 years for males and 16 years for Females, bodies. A keystone species and methods of eating differ by species as well legislation, such as the,. Run off into storm drains the moms get wounded or the pups wash away in strong currents extinct and. Also at risk from people who want to watch them, they have the thickest fur of any.. Whenever you can prey on devour kelp forests, ecosystems ) File a petition to awareness! As clams, snails and other invertebrates roots take in water, the... Not in use and disposing properly of their body weight each day in sea urchins, and up... Their water-resistant fur for insulation you 're the driving force behind this critical work was shot near Kyuquot the! Are often seen floating on their backs affiliated with any other otter-related research or. A petition to raise the status of sea urchin numbers under control use to! Ground and replenish groundwater: 3/28/2009 5:37:32 PM we have to help research group or community outreach organization they! 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Get wet by decreasing the amount of runoff giant kelp to keep from floating away particularly vulnerable oil. Due to high mortality rates among prime-aged adults in fact, at 850,000 to one million hairs per square,! Sea otter pups can become stranded from their mothers when the moms get or. More has been done for otters by government agencies around the world as well t how.