Saturday, August 16, 2014

Kayakers spot sea otter!

Bernie spotted news of a sighting of a sea otter at Ten Mile Point! Two kayakers found a sea otter playing near their launch point.

Photo by Cheryl Alexander from the CBC News website
There are plenty of river otters to be seen along either side of Ten Mile Point and along much of the shoreline of southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. When you see otter photos here on Kayak Yak, it's usually John's pictures of river otters. But sea otters are very rare here since the fur trade took every otter south of northern Alaska. A few sea otters have been re-introduced to Tofino and Oregon because these mammals are an important part of the seashore environment. There are sometimes a few that visit Sooke but they don't often come further along the coast than that. Here's a link to the Department of Fisheries website's page on sea otters, and other pages on their distribution and re-introductions.

The CBC News article is here, complete with a video of the otter looking completely friendly and adorable.
If you too can figure out from the video exactly where this sea otter has been hanging out, please keep the secret! Let the otter have a chance for some quiet time away from us noisy humans.

If the otter approaches your kayak, give it plenty of room. The DFO in Canada and the Fish & Wildlife Department in the USA both say don't approach sea mammals and they have numbers to call in an emergency. Here in the Salish Sea near Victoria we'd call the Marine Mammal Incident Reporting Network toll-free to report any marine mammal in distress.
Just in case anybody's thinking of petting this adorable, friendly-looking animal, here are two quick reminders: it is a wild animal with sharp teeth, and even if it doesn't bite you, you could end up hurting it accidentally. We don't want to get this sea otter used to people touching or feeding it -- if you really want to feed a sea animal go to Fisherman's Wharf to feed the big one-eyed harbour seal (and DON'T pet him either). 

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