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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. 

Coexisting with Sea Otters

In 2019, Sea Otter Savvy and Defenders of Wildlife are beginning a partnership not just to protect sea otters from human disturbance, but to spread awareness about this unique and ecologically important marine mammal.  

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.

Sea Otter Savvy

The Sea Otter Savvy program strives to foster responsible behavior by users of the marine environment while they are viewing and recreating near sea otters.

  Stay Engaged By Following #YEAROFCOEXISTENCE

Sea Otter Awareness Week

September 22 - 28, 2019

Sea Otter Awareness Week is an annual recognition of the vital role that sea otters play in the nearshore ecosystem.

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