To honor our incredible wildlife, Defenders has declared 2019 the Year of Coexistence. Over the course of the year, we'll highlight innovative ways people are sharing the landscape with wildlife.
September: Sea Otters
Sea otters are a keystone species and as predators, sea otters are critical to maintaining the balance of the near-shore kelp ecosystems. Without sea otters, sea urchins would devour the kelp forests off the coast that provide cover and food for many other marine animals.
Humans are the biggest threat to sea otter populations. Direct conflict with humans, such as shootings and entrapment in fishing traps and nets pose a major threat to sea otters, but oil spills, other pollution, and loss of kelp forests are also threatening sea otters. To protect sea otters that were crossing roads, Defenders made the case for crossing signs and slow speed zones and worked with local sea otter protection organizations to install wildlife cameras. We are working with state and federal agencies and other groups to maintain, increase and broaden the current protections for the sea otter so they can expand their population along more of California’s nearshore coastal waters.
Podcast: Respect the Nap
Gena Bentall, founder of Sea Otter Savvy shares how her idea to collaborate with people to protect sea otters grew from hosting a meeting to an entire conference to protect wildlife in California.