Tomorrow marks the end of Sea Otter Awareness Week–although our art show will last until the end of October–and we hope you are all very much more aware of sea otters now. In all seriousness, it still amazes me how many people I meet who either don’t realize that sea otters are threatened or don’t realize what a problem it is that they are! Which goes to show you how important things like Sea Otter Awareness are.
The Otter Project routinely goes to public meetings to speak out on behalf of sea otters, and it seems there is a big gap between what’s happening on the ground (dying otters) and the perceptions of policy makers and the public. Not too long ago I stated to a reporter that water quality was a big problem for sea otters, and he said to me (and I paraphrase here) “Well the water here is so clean, so will we ever be able to help sea otters?” This threw me off for a minute, but I quickly explained that the kinds of things in the water that are harming sea otters are not necessarily visible–things like legacy chemicals and pathogens are microscopic–but they’re still there. If we don’t do a good enough job of explaining this to the public, the reporters that communicate with the public, and especially the policy makers, then we’re just going to keep fighting an uphill battle.