Sea Otter Awareness Week
September 20-26, 2020
Annually, throughout the last week of September, we celebrate sea otters during Sea Otter Awareness Week. We encourage zoological and educational institutions, governmental agencies and communities to plan and undertake events that highlight sea otters. These activities include sharing stories, disseminating science and generating media that inspire a deeper awareness of these unique marine mammals, their ecological importance and the many challenges they face.
This year's theme is: Bridging the Gaps.
This year’s theme signifies the breaches that exist in our knowledge of how to keep marine ecosystems whole and resilient and how to protect vulnerable species. The single-arch bridge, which stands as a hallmark of keystone construction, symbolizes the critical role that sea otters play in maintaining strength, diversity, and productivity of vital nearshore ecosystems, such as kelp forests and estuaries. The sea otter’s apex predator role completes a trophic system that otherwise tends to collapse when they are absent. The logo should remind us of the geographical gap that still exists between northern and southern sea otters. But just like the Bixby Creek Bridge permitted the expansion of the coastal highway north and south, conserving contiguous stretches of healthy habitat would allow sea otters to reoccupy areas of their historical range. Thus, the more we realize the impact we have on wild systems, the more we can start bridging the gaps between causing harm to wildlife and creating true coexistence. Perhaps the example of sea otters can connect us to innovative ways of pondering the natural world, moving us from dominion and over-consumption to sustainability, from disrespect and ignorance to preservation.
The evocative logo for this year’s Sea Otter Awareness Week, designed by Heather Barrett, presents a kelp-wrapped sea otter resting in waters near the bridge at Bixby Creek, along California’s Big Sur coast. At that spot, a few dozen sea otters defied human efforts to exterminate their entire species.
This week is organized and sponsored by Defenders of Wildlife, Sea Otter Savvy and California Department of Parks and Recreation.
Lunch with a Sea Otter
When: September 21, 2020 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm PDT
Host: Lawrence Hall of Science
Tune in to the Lawrence Hall of Science’s livestream via Youtube and Facebook to see the wild sea otters of Morro Bay and build a sea otter with guidance from a Sea Otter Savvy biologist and a Morro Bay State Parks interpreter.
NightSchool Series: “Sea Otters & the Bay”
When: September 24, 2020 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm PDT
Host: California Academy of Sciences
This NightSchool event features your favorite fluffy-furred tool-using, urchin-eating marine mammal endemic to the Pacific Coast. Peek into the Academy’s Mammalogy collections and learn how researchers use scientific collections to study sea otters with collections manager Moe Flannery. Learn about the history, biology, behavior and ecology of the southern sea otter in California and its possible return to the Bay Area with Sea Otter Savvy advisors Lilian Carswell (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and Andy Johnson (Defenders of Wildlife).
All Week, Check Out These Sea Otter Cams!
Elkhorn Slough: Otter cams
Georgia Aquarium: Sea otter cam
Moss Landing: Sea otter cam
Oregon Coast Aquarium: Otter cam
Seattle Aquarium: Otter cams