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Sea Otter Savvy

Sea Otter Science And Community Outreach

do not encircleFrom "Sharing Space with Sea Otters": Don't encircle sea otters!   Photo by Dave Feliz

The Sea Otter Savvy program bases its outreach campaign on a fundamental premise: most day to day disturbance to sea otters is caused by well-intentioned people who love sea otters, have no intention of causing them harm, and don’t recognize that they’ve caused a potentially detrimental disruption of sea otter behavior.  We want to teach everyone who might embark on an ocean adventure in the sea otter’s neighborhood how disturbance happens, and what they can do to prevent it. We want every boater, kayaker, scuba diver, and beach-comber to know how they can (and why they should) share space with sea otters. Telling people how to be sea otter savvy is good, but showing them is better!

To bring the Sea Otter Savvy message to life, we have teamed up with nonprofit conservation production company, Wild Lens, Inc. and Monterey Bay Kayaks to produce “Sharing Space with Sea Otters”, a short film promoting awareness of the effect of our marine recreation activities on sea otters and the simple measures we can take to prevent causing disturbance. Through this film we hope to illustrate three important principles of our program: 1) sea otters are vulnerable to disturbance, 2) sea otters are important members of the coastal community that deserve our good stewardship, and 3) our behavior has the power to either cause disturbance or prevent it.  

This short film, featuring footage shot throughout the central California coast, will premiere on September 19 in recognition of Sea Otter Awareness Week 2016.  “Sharing Space with Sea Otters” will be available to screen at marine recreation businesses, including kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals, wildlife watching tours, or any venue that might reach ocean recreation enthusiasts and sea otter admirers.

“Sharing Space with Sea Otters” is coming soon to Wild Lens, Inc. and SeaOtterSavvy.org. Watch. Learn. Share. Be a sea otter savvy role model for others!

crossing 01Last week Sea Otter Savvy shared a video of a male sea otter, a well-known resident of the south harbor in Moss Landing. He was crossing the road that separated a section of adjacent wetlands (where he had found a good foraging spot) from his resting spot in the harbor. In recent weeks he had developed a routine of swimming through the culvert that passes under the road to find food on the other side. When finding the tidal gates of the culverts closed upon his return, he would walk up the bank, across the road, and dip back into the south harbor to rest.

Those of us whose work concerns sea otters and their welfare recognized this as an inherently dangerous behavior and began discussing ways to prevent this sea otter from becoming a casualty on the high traffic road. A concerned community member erected a “Sea Otter Crossing” sign to warn drivers.

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