Dance of the sea otter–a documentary

This is a delightful little documentary about sea otters in Canada. It has lovely footage of otters, the beautiful Canadian coastline, and my favorite line describing the bottom of the sea: “a fantastic bouillabaisse of life”. 

The film also asks some hard questions about conservation vs. human use of land–bringing sea otters back to their former habitat has real impacts on restoring the ecosystems to the way they were pre-otter-extirpation. This is great from an ecological perspective, but can adversely impact industries that have come to rely on the proliferation of otter prey species. The video includes a decent bit of footage on the sea otter-fisheries conflict, and the frustration felt in the local community that is targeted at sea otters over the decline of certain prey species.

Dr. Jane Watson, who has studied the otters since their translocation, points out that although otters will limit a prey species population (without regard for human uses of said species), they will not drive a species extinct.  Once a species becomes somewhat limited, it gets too difficult to hunt, and they will find an alternative. Species like abalone will adapt by living in rocky crevices, out of reach of otter paws. We see similar trends in California, and it is a constant reminder that the ecosystem evolved to function within itself for millions of years before we came along.

Although the film features Canadian otters, a lot of the management issues are similar to those we face in California.

The Dance of the Sea Otter, part of the Natural Kingdom Collection, can be viewed here, at Joost.

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About Allison

I am the new Executive Director of The Otter Project in Monterey, California! Originally from the Bay Area, I went to school in San Diego, and came back north to Monterey for graduate school, where I found my calling: saving sea otters! Working for The Otter Project combines my passion for environmental policy with my love of animals. When not advocating for sea otters, I enjoy yoga, volunteer wildlife rehab, reading, and spending time with my cat Alyssa, who, for the record, I did not name. I have been with The Otter Project since November of 2007.
This entry was posted in Fisheries Conflicts, International Otters, Mini-controversies, Outreach and Awareness, Sea otter art and culture and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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