People are invited to celebrate International Sea Otter Awareness Day at the Oregon Coast Aquarium on Saturday, Sept. 28, an event intended to raise awareness of the vital role sea otters play in nearshore ecosystems. Guests will also have behind-the-scenes access to see the recently completed sea otter holding facility.
Although they may appear to be a simple ball of fuzz, sea otters are a keystone species that maintain the balance of marine ecosystems. By feeding on urchins, sea otters prevent the overgrazing of kelp and enable kelp forests to flourish.
The aquarium’s three sea otters were rescued after being injured or abandoned as pups in California and Alaska. Visit the aquarium from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, to see the top-notch care that these otters receive and enjoy a day of otter-themed activities.
“Sea otters were hunted near to extinction during the fur trade, and while their populations are slowly coming back in Alaska, Washington and California, we have not seen sea otters return to Oregon,” said Brittany Blades, curator of marine mammals at the aquarium. “Sea Otter Awareness Day teaches people what they can do to help sea otters have a welcome home in Oregon. Come meet a marine mammalogist to ask all of your otter know questions!”
Learn firsthand how the aquarium staff train, feed and care for Nuka, Schuster and Oswald during live presentations, and test your luck in a raffle afterward. Kids can learn about sea otters at the Otter Story Station, make arts and crafts and join in a scavenger hunt.
Sea Otter Awareness Day activities are free with admission. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is located at 2820 SE Ferry Slip Road, South Beach. For more information, go to www.aquarium.org or call 541-867-3474.