Apart from bunnies, there are few creatures cuter than sea otters. But they're not just cute and cuddly, they also play vital ecological roles. By eating the sea urchins that eat kelp, the sea otters help to preserve kelp beds. This means that the kelp beds absorb more carbon dioxide which reduces sea acidification. Healthy kelp beds also offer more habitat for fish, an awareness of which may help fishermen to value sea otters which otherwise they see as major competitors. This fact had lead to significant decreases in sea otter numbers.
Sea otters have increased in numbers in recent years but they still need to be actively conserved. Sea Otter Awareness Week (this week) aims to highlight the benefits that sea otters bring to coastal ecosystems and the problems that they face.
This week also sees the launch of the film Otter 501, which promises cuteness overload as well as an inspiring story of animal rescue. The film is just one part of an immersive multi media web experience, which you can read about here.
So look out for the film and take part in any activities, on-line or in your local area (particularly if you live on the Pacific coast of the USA or Canada).
As ever, text in red contains hyperlinks that take you to other web-pages where you can find out more.