Seeing sea otters as sentinels helps us to realize the importance of what we contribute to the oceans. Hopefully, a better understanding of the parasite’s potential land to sea transmission will help to protect otter health, which has broader impacts on the marine environment. Watching the otters sleep and feed in the coastal kelp beds, we might not realize how strong the link is between our health and theirs, but we share the waters where we swim and surf and a taste for certain seafood which have been shown to concentrate parasites, including Toxoplasma. Another reason that sea otters are susceptible to oil spills is because they often travel in large same-sex rafts (Environment Canada, 2011). Good levels of reproduction in the otters and no evidence of otters dispersing (migrating?) What can they tell us about our shared environment? It makes its way into waterways and the ocean very quickly. 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). The sea otter, a voracious urchin-eater and possessor of the densest fur in the animal kingdom. Upon further investigation, scientists discovered that infectious disease plays a significant role in sea otter deaths. …and participate in events as a volunteer. Here are some viewing tips to help you enjoy watching sea otters and other marine wildlife in a safe and responsible way. …in the trash, and pick up after your dog or cat. Have an area in the garage or shed to save them for proper disposal. After a treaty banning sea otter hunting was signed into effect early in the 20th century, their populations began to recover. Living along the California coast sparks our interest in the connection between land and sea. If you’d like to learn more about the annual census and our sea otter foraging surveys, take a moment to watch the video below. But if we could have a little bit of control and have a little bit of say in how we utilize and live with the sea otters in our backyard. Instead, use Integrated Pest Management practices (google it and find many excellent, organic suggestions). Cat litter flushed down toilets may be a small contributor to otter infection if it is discharged into the ocean from water treatment plants. Plant native plants appropriate for your garden. Identify the greatest threat to the sea otter , and personal actions that could help with sea otter conservation and protection. 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. Southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) are some of our most charismatic marine neighbors. Seeing sea otters as sentinels helps us to realize the importance of what we contribute to the oceans. You can’t protect what you don’t know. These organisms indiscriminately sieve particles out of the water and can accumulate high concentrations of … Did you know sea otters have built in pouches of loose skin under their forearms to stash extra prey when diving? Make sure it’s working properly; have it inspected every 2 years. Although the efforts to protect these animals continues to increase, there are many things you can do to help save the sea otters. The unique opportunity to observe and learn directly from live animals increases public awareness and appreciation of wildlife. Although humans are typically exposed through eating undercooked meat, increases in sea otter exposure to Toxoplasma underscore our own risk of infection through ingesting oocysts from environmental sources. If that is the case, we need to know what is killing sea otters. …and collecting rainwater in a cistern/rain barrel! Liz VanWormer also contributed to this piece. You can do your part to help protect Otters that are endangered. It is not harmless, and is extremely damaging to fish. River otters and all animals love willow thickets. Finding groups online that you can join the efforts of is very simple. Their feces can be harmful to sea otters as well as other animals. Working together, citizens and scientists can make the land to sea connection … Please see our Bay Area map. All of these species can become infected by ingesting oocysts or by consuming parasites in the raw meat from an infected animal. They are also some of the most threatened. Identify the location and range of the sea otter in Canada. Take them to a hazardous waste center. Females can give birth any time of the year, but most in California have their pup between January and March. 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 them to a hazardous waste center. Otters serve a key role in maintaining healthy kelp forests along the California coast. 1) Reduce the amount of storm drain pollution and kitty litter flushed down toilets 2) Buy environmentally friendly products …your favorite environmental organizations financially, please do! …no matter how much rain we get! Currently, studies are underway to determine how many cats are shedding Toxoplasma, where the areas of greatest risk for Toxoplasma exposure on land and in the sea are located, what terrestrial wildlife species are exposed and how the parasite might be transported into the ocean. Instead, they have an extremely dense coat of fur which helps to trap a layer of air close to their skin to keep them warm. Take a walk, watch birds, find out what animals, plants and other living things live there. 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. SeaWorld parks rescue and rehabilitate orphaned, ill, and injured otters. Part of sea otters’ high susceptibility to exposure is due to their diet. Take shorter showers, turn off water when not in use. You can help sea otters by not thowing suff away it is a great way to help them to stay alive. by Jonna K. Mazet | Mar 24, 2012 | sea otters. A newborn pup needs constant attention and will stay with its mother for six months until it develops survival skills. Because they spend their lives in the nearshore waters, sea otters also serve as an excellent sentinel for pathogens and pollutants entering the ocean from the terrestrial environment. Unexpectedly, two landbased parasites, Toxoplasma gondii and Sarcocystis neurona, were responsible for causing fatal brain infections in 24% of sea otters found dead on the California coast from 1998-2001. At night, sea otters may choose either … Use snap traps and/or exclusion instead. 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… Although the southern sea otter population increased from 1,270 in the 1980s to 3,500 in 2016, it has leveled off at just under 3,000 in the last three years. A large proportion of this prey consists of filter-feeders, such as mussels and clams. Sea otters can have a pup any time of the year. Our organization is not affiliated with any other otter-related research group or community outreach organization. Sea otters, the “keystone predator" of Aleutian Islands’ kelp forests, experienced dramatic population declines in the 1990s. Instead, use permeable pavers to allow rainwater to sink into the ground and replenish groundwater. Want to watch cute sea otters romp, wrestle and play every day of the year? Make sure you pick up used fishing line and hooks! Take shorter showers, turn off water when not in use. Unlike most marine mammals, sea otters lack a thick layer of fat to insulate them from cold temperatures. … if you own property along the side of a stream. …and dispose of it properly. Create a bar graph that shows the global sea otter population. Have an area in the garage or shed to save them for proper disposal. Detecting Toxoplasma in the sea otters has increased awareness of the potential for human exposure to this pathogen, which can have severe impacts on people whose immune systems aren’t functioning well in addition to the developing fetuses of infected pregnant women. Pay attention to how politicians stand on conservation issues like open space and stream and ocean protections. A member of the weasel family, the sea otter (Enhydra lutris) keeps warm in the water because it possesses the densest fur in the animal kingdom – about 850,000 to a … In the protected environment of a zoological park, scientists can examine aspects of otter biology that are difficult to study in the wild.
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