Oiled Wildlife Care Network (you remember them- the heroes of the Deepwater Horizon Spill who toiled endlessly cleaning and tallying the wildlife rescued, saved and lost) have just informed me (by way of their blog) that it is SEA OTTER AWARENESS WEEK!!!!
As everyone knows, otters are the best and happiest animals on the planet. (Other than my cats and a few other cats I know.) That's why we must protect them. Because after all, they are as cute, and as endangered, as all get-out. (Plus, they are the official animal of Les Comtesses. We just love otters!) Well, actually, in addition to the cute factor, otters are actually integral to the marine nearshore ecosystem.
Defenders of Wildlife Sea Otter Campaign
The US Geological Survey counts sea otters every spring and fall in a region of the central California coast between Año Nuevo and Point Concepcion. Counting otters is no mean feat. And if you have any doubts on that point, by all means, go count otters in the photo here. It's great that someone is actually counting otters, and trying to track their success as they rebound from the terrible population lows of the early 80's.
The bad news on the otter front is that the population is down over the past two years. The spring numbers declined 3.4% over the previous estimates for 2009 and are down a full 4% over estimates from 2008. Although pup numbers are also down, the general population trend has been upward, with a few 'corrections', since counting by the USGS began in 1985.
Y'otter be used to that with me by now.
And don't forget to check out dailyotter.org if you need a happy fix.