Sea Otter Awareness Week

September 22 – 28, 2024

Annually, throughout the last full 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.

Sea Otter Awareness Week is organized and sponsored by Defenders of Wildlife, Sea Otter Savvy, California Department of Parks and Recreation and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

2023 Theme: Restoring Missing Links

This year's theme, "Restoring Missing Links," recognizes that sea otters remain absent from large portions of their historical range while celebrating the active efforts of conservation groups to restore a continuous population of these charismatic creatures and other missing elements along the Pacific coast.

As a keystone species, sea otters maintain balance within the intricate web of life that epitomizes coastal ecosystems. By preying on sea urchins, sea otters control urchin populations and prevent the destructive consequences of unchecked grazing. This regulation allows kelp forests to flourish, yields vital habitat for numerous other species and improves ecosystem biodiversity and resilience.

But sea otters can also reestablish links within a human context. Many Indigenous communities have longstanding cultural and spiritual relationships with the natural world and wish to revive sea otter populations within nearshore waters. For coastal residents and visitors, the mere existence of sea otters generates enjoyment and a unified desire to see these endearing animals thrive.

As we celebrate Sea Otter Awareness Week, let's consider how we might help these animals return home, reconnecting what's missing in those natural systems and realizing the ecological and socioeconomic value these once-nearly-extinct animals generate in coastal areas. 

Sea otters have influenced the livelihoods, culture and spiritual aspects of coastal communities throughout human history. Many of these communities have translations for sea otter, including these that appear in the inner ring of the logo: sea otter (English); nutria de mar (Spanish); elakha (Chinook jargon); kalan (Russian); rakko (Japanese); chngatux̂ (Unangam Tunuu/Aleut); taa-nin’-sree-ni (Tolowa); magúmgu (Alsea); suusič (Chochenyo Ohlone); and qhamós’ wehke (Kashia).

Thanks to Heather Barrett of Sea Otter Savvy for creating the 2023 logo!

SOAW 2023 Logo
Raft of Sea Otters Above a Kelp Bed
Lawrence Swayne

The Extraordinary Sea Otter

Tour the special places that play a part in the past, present and future recovery of California's sea otters!

Explore Sea Otters

Sea Otter Week Events

Check back for our September 2024 events.

Southern sea otters float at Moss Landing, California.
Lilian Carswell/USFWS

Check out these Live Sea Otter Cameras all year!

Detroit Zoo
Sea Otter Live Cam

Georgia Aquarium
Southern Sea Otter Webcam

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Sea Otter Cam

Oregon Coast Aquarium
Sea Otter Live Camera

Seattle Aquarium
Live Otter Cams 

Vancouver Aquarium
 Sea Otter Cams 

Wildlife and Wild Places

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