What is a sea otter?
A sea otter is a marine mammal that lives in coastal waters in the central and north Pacific Ocean. It is the smallest marine mammal in North America and is about 4 feet long. But Gunnar the Sea Otter is mighty in stature!
Why aren't there more sea otters?
Because the pelts of sea otters are thick, warm and beautiful, fur hunters killed hundreds of thousands of them...
The southern sea otter was thought to be extinct. Then, in 1938, a raft of about 300 otters was discovered off the coast of Big Sur, California. This group has spread along the 200 miles of California coastline, but its population is still small - only about 2,300.
Southern sea otters are now protected by the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, so they cannot be hunted.Our friend Gunnar the Sea Otter is not extinct, will be hunted no more, and is protected by Someone Whose law & might are even greater than
that of the Endangered Species Act.
Still I gotta ask: Why aren't there more like him?
Why aren't there more Sea Otters, like Gunnar?
What are some threats to the sea otter?
Oil spills can be fatal to the sea otter and could cause this species to become extinct. Oil coats the fur, destroying the blanket of air that keeps the animal warm. This causes chilling and death (hypothermia).
Increased pollution in our oceans is also a threat to sea otters. Fishing nets are another cause of sea otter deaths. Sea otters become caught in the nets and drown. Laws have been passed to limit the use of fishing nets along the coastline. This has helped sea otter populations.Gunnar the Sea Otter is threatened no more. But indeed the Sea Otter as a species still finds its very survival threatened.
The oil spills of SA threaten to suffocate these survivors. The pollution spewed out by perpetrators threatens to choke us. The nets our criminal injustice system & societal hangups throw over us to keep us down threaten to drown us. We remain threatened as survivors.
What preys on the sea otter?
Natural predators on Alaskan/Russian otters include sharks, killer whales, bald eagles, bear, and coyotes. Bald eagles sometimes target pups left at the surface while the mother forages for food. Natural predators of the southern sea otters are great white sharks and occasionally killer whales. Humans have had the biggest impact on sea otters and nearly brought them to extinction during fur trade of the 18th and 19th centuries.Human predators, sexual predators, remain our biggest threat, fellow survivors. Both becuz of what they did to us and becuz of how it affects us and becuz of how others do or don't respond to it.
Gunnar the Sea Otter is free of predators forever. They did not kill him, he died at rest. A survivor.
Why should I care about the sea otters?
Sea otters are considered a keystone species, which means they directly affect the ecosystem in which they live--the kelp forest. Sea otters eat sea urchins and other animals that graze on kelp. Sea urchins are considered the most efficient and destructive consumer of kelp in the state. Sea otters, by eliminating sea urchins, help the kelp forest grow. There are documented studies that show that the removal of sea urchins by sea otters fosters the proliferation of kelps and profoundly alters the composition and dynamics of the kelp forest ecosystem. Enhancement of kelp beds by otters produces substantial enlargement of fish stocks which associate with kelp. The bottom line is that the sea otter is an indicator of a healthy ecosystem. Without the sea otter we will lose our kelp forests and all the biodiversity associated with them.We care about ourselves and one another as survivors, and all other survivors out there, and all who may be forced to become survivors, becuz we are vital to our world ecosystem. The world needs us to know how to survive, and to learn how to love and do justice & mercy. The world needs us Sea Otters.
Gunnar the Sea Otter was a vital member of the MS ecosystem. He is missed.
How are sea otters special?
The sea otter is unique in that it is one of only a few animals known to use tools. Otters use rocks, other shellfish, or man-made objects to pry prey from rocks - they also use tools as hammers or anvils.Yes, we survivors are unique among men in our ability to use many tools. We've had to in order to survive. It's why we remain survivors.
Gunnar the Sea Otter showed us how to use the tools at our disposal. No one used 'em like Gunnar!
How old do sea otters get?
Male sea otters live between ten and 15 years, while females live slightly longer, to 15-20 years. A sea otter is considered an adult at three years and older. Sub-adults are one–three years, juveniles are six months–one year, and pups are younger than six months.How old do sea otters get? Not old enuf! Gunnar, we miss you, dear friend & brother.
But I do plan to see you on the other side, in that sea where there are no oil spills, pollutants, or nets, no sharks, killer whales or human predators. Where the Sea Otters rest and eat and swim and play freely together forever.
[Info on the Sea Otter taken from the website Friends of the Sea Otter at: http://www.seaotters.org/Otters/
Gunnar, fellow Sea Otter survivor, you are my hero, my symbol, my brother, my friend.
This is my tribute to you.
Gunnar I remember & honor you. God bless you brother Sea Otter.