Provided by Oregon Coast Aquarium
Newport, Oregon—The Oregon Coast Aquarium is home to Judge, Mojoe and Schuster who comprise the largest raft of sea otters in Oregon. In honor of sea otters everywhere, the Aquarium will celebrate Sea Otter Awareness Week from September 22 to 28.
The Aquarium will be brimming with sea otter facts, jokes, quizzes and art so visitors can learn about these marine mammals no matter what exhibit they are exploring. Aquarium mammalogists will talk about how they care for these animals during daily feeding narrations and an Enrichment Station will feature some of the items used to entertain the Aquarium’s resident otters and simulate their natural environment.
Sea Otter Awareness Week kicks off on Sunday, September 22 with biofacts, like skulls and pelts, and an activity station that lets visitors participate in an experiment to learn how sea otters stay warm in the cold ocean water of the Pacific Northwest.
The Aquarium will host two free after-hours presentations in the lobby on Friday, September 27 at 6:00 p.m.
Mammalogist Brittany Blades will discuss the unique challenge of managing the Aquarium’s all-male raft during her lecture, “Taming Testosterone: How Oregon Coast Aquarium Sea Otters are Unique.”
The discussion will continue with, “Are Sea Otter Populations Safe At Last? Think Again!” a presentation by Nicole Duplaix, an OSU professor, photographer for the National Geographic Image Collections and founding member of TRAFFIC and the IUCN Otter Specialist Group.
The first 200 groups of visitors on Saturday, September 28, will drive away with a free sea otter themed bumper sticker.
People everywhere can see the Aquarium’s sea otters through the live-feed Aquari-cam. Take a peek to see what Judge, Mojoe and Schuster are up to at http://aquarium.org/visit/aquari-cam.
Sea otters, Enhydra lutris, are currently considered extinct off Oregon’s coast and are listed under the Endangered Species Act in their existing range. Their decline had far-reaching environmental impacts. Sea otters control the population of sea urchins which in turn feed on the giant kelp forests offshore. Without the otters to maintain this ecological balance, urchin populations destroyed many of the underwater forests in Oregon that provided habitat for innumerable species. Habitat destruction, food competition, pollution and natural predation continue to challenge the species’ return.