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25-04-2016

Sea Otter Rescue - Finding A Home For Number 719

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The importance of sea otters

Sea otters are the second smallest marine mammals in the world. They don't have a layer of blubber like their fellow mammals to keep them warm. Instead, they have very thick, dense fur. These comical creatures are an extremely important species because they maintain the kelp systems along the shoreline. They are natural predators and their presence ensures the longevity and lifeline of the kelp undergrowth because the smaller sea animals would devour it all. While many of us think of kelp as a hindrance, or an unsightly plant-life that serves no purpose, it's worth remembering why it's there. Kelp forests (seaweed that sprouts from the sea bed) provide the perfect breeding ground for most sea animals. They act like underwater trees. If you consider the human race and its survival, imagine if there were no trees ? How would we protect ourselves? Kelp forests are ideal places for the smaller sea animals as it safeguards their species. Nature cannot flourish without all the relevant animals and plant life working in unison, and the sea otter has its rightful place. Unknowingly, sea otters also help keep greenhouse gas emissions to a minimum as kelp naturally attracts carbon dioxide. They live in the waters just off the coast of the Northern Pacific and they feed off the animals that reside in the shallow shores. In the 19th century, the sea otter population was close to a million but because of the demand in the fur trade, it dwindled down to almost 2,000. Thankfully, poaching legislation and closer monitoring of these useful and much needed mammals has restored their habitat as well as their growth. These days, there's an estimated 100,000 in existence, with just under 3,000 in California. It's no wonder then that such a fuss was made over a crying baby sea otter found stranded on a beach in Carmel, California by a passer-by.CONTINUE ON THE NEXT PAGE...
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