It is important to understand why these cute critters are protected. Sea Otters have been found to be an extremely important member of our West Coast marine ecosystems. They help maintain a healthy balance. For instance they LOVE eating sea urchins—those spiky round deep red and purple starfish-like creatures. When Sea Otter populations diminish, sea urchin populations grow too large, overwhelming and destroying kelp forests.
Kelp forests are the make or break point for healthy oceans because they provide habitat for extremely productive ecosystems supporting a huge variety of marine life. Overpopulation of sea urchins destroy kelp forests. Without kelp forests, all other ocean life in that vicinity is in gave danger.*
Cooperative Ecology Thinking would tell you that killing sea otters has massive ramifications on the entire ocean ecosystem. Educating people on why respecting nature is important to their own survival is an important Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization mission.
Some sad news just in here however. Here is an example of someone being out of alignment with one’s own survival:
“(AP) – Federal and state authorities are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who shot and killed three southern sea otters in the last month. The three male otters were found dead between the Santa Cruz Harbor and Seacliff State Beach in Aptos earlier this month, but initial necropsy results show the otters were shot and died several days to several weeks before washing ashore.
Southern sea otters are protected as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act. They are also protected under Marine Mammal Protection Act and by California state law. Killing a southern sea otter is punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and a possible jail sentence.
Anyone with information should call the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.”
*Quest has made more information available in a short video explaining this critical balancing act. We thank them and all engaged scientists for their great work!