In a year in which sea otter conservation and awareness is more important than ever, organizations, agencies, zoos, aquariums, natural history museums, educators, and others from around the world rallied together to promote the preservation of this charismatic and beloved marine mammal during Sea Otter Awareness Week 2012. From Portugal to Minnesota, France to Santa Barbara…and almost everywhere in between, the amount of effort put forth into the 10th annual week and in increasing people’s knowledge regarding the status of sea otters was unprecedented.
But why have an entire week dedicated to otters?
Simple. And it’s no secret.
Sea otter populations are not close to where they should be. Annual deaths are at an all-time high in California. And, don’t forget, the entire coast of Southern California is still completely off limits to sea otters.
But its not all bad news…
Reasons to increase sea otter awareness do not all stem from negative statistics. Recent studies have shown that sea otters have incredible positive impacts on their habitats, such as increasing kelp bed coverage which results in increases of carbon sequestration. Who would have thought climate change mitigation and otters would ever share the same sentence, but it’s true, and people need to know.
So for these reasons, and of course the obvious ones, there is an entire week dedicated to increasing both public awareness and conservation efforts of the sea otter.
This year over 30 different zoos, aquariums, scientists, filmmakers, institutes and organizations alike held talks, open discussions, movies, and events to promote the conservation of sea otters. At one of the more glamorous events of the week, the popular film, Otter 501, showed to a packed house of over 700 people in the Sunset Center of Carmel, CA. Overall the week was a complete success and would not have been so without the incredible support from all the different participants who contributed.
Every week is Sea Otter Awareness Week at Friends of the Sea Otter, but last week was made that much more special by the hard work and dedication from a number of organizations. Thank you to all who participated, and we look forward to another successful week next year! Please check www.seaotterweek.org for a list of the partners and the events that took place during the week.