Sharing Space with Sea Otters
Sea otters are adored for their cute, furry appearance, but there is more to them than just a pretty face. As top predators of the kelp forest and estuary, they also play a crucial role in restoring health and resilience to coastal ecosystems. Sea otters along California’s central coast face threats from large (great white sharks) to microscopic (disease pathogens), but sea otters living near humans must also contend with harassment, often from well-intentioned but unaware visitors to their home. Everyone who intends to explore the coast in a kayak, boat, or paddleboard should be aware of the effect human proximity can have on sea otters and measures they can take to minimize their impact. The job of safeguarding these charismatic and ecologically important residents of the central California coast falls to all of us—it is essential for us to learn how to coexist with these remarkable animals. Watch this short video to learn how you can play a role and share our coastal ecosystems with the sea otter.
The Sea Otter Savvy program was established fall of 2015 as a result of collaborative efforts by Southern Sea Otter Alliance members from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Friends of the Sea Otter, and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The goal of the Sea Otter Savvy is to reduce sea otter disturbance by inspiring responsible viewing of wild sea otters. We hope that by engaging and educating the wildlife-viewing public, either directly or indirectly through operators of marine recreation and ecotourism businesses, we can foster community stewardship for California’s charismatic and ecologically important sea otter residents.
Learn more about Sea Otters here:
Listen to our podcast interview with Sea Otter Savvy program coordinator Gena Bentall:
Listen to our podcast interview with Sea Otter researcher Sarah Chinn: