Sea Otter Awareness Week
Monday, September 24, 2012
10:00am - 5:00pm
Activities are free with the price of regular admission.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium will observe Sea Otter Awareness Week Sunday, September 23 through Saturday, September 29, 2012. This week-long event is designed to educate the public about the integral role sea otters play in the marine ecosystem.
The week’s activities will include sea otter feeds and information about sea otters’ natural history and adaptations. Activities will culminate in a FREE viewing of the acclaimed documentary, OTTER 501, on the evening of Saturday, September 29. Seating for this film must be arranged in advance. Click here for more information about this film.
About Sea Otters
Sea Otters once ranged in number along the coasts of the North Pacific, from Russia and northern Japan, throughout the Aleutians, down the coasts of Alaska and British Columbia, to as far south as Baja. Scientists estimate up to 300,000 sea otters once inhabited this area. That changed in 1741 when traders realized that sea otter pelts were sought after for the unusually dense fur that enables them to survive in cold seas without the blubber of whales or sea lions.
Of the three remaining subspecies of sea otters around the world, two are found in North America: the southern, or California sea otter and the northern sea otter. The third subspecies is the Russian sea otter.
Sea otters play a critical role in the marine ecosystem as a keystone species. They promote a healthy kelp forest that, in turn, supports thousands of organisms. Sea otters are also an indicator or sentinel species. They are dying of diseases that have land-based connections. Since humans and sea otters eat many of the same seafood items, high rates of sea otter disease may be a warning for both human health and marine ecosystem health.
The last sea otter in Oregon was trapped near Newport in 1906. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is very fortunate in having the largest sea otter exhibit in North America. Only 12 North American aquariums and zoos maintain sea otter exhibits at all.