We love to see otters shaking hands, playing and using their bellies to do things. Sea otters live in the coastal areas of the North Pacific, and are such lovely, iconic animals that they serve as an image for environmental protection, and their importance in local ecosystems is not at all subtle.
Unfortunately, sea otters are threatened by hunting, pollution and commercial fishing, which means that baby otters sometimes end up on the shore without their families. But thanks to the efforts of the aquariums, they can be cared for and learn vital skills, so that even these orphaned otters can become adults.
Image credit: VANCOUVER AQUARIUM
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Sea otters’ fur is not only adorable, it’s also practical: they don’t sink because their incredibly dense hair traps air, making them float. But even so, they need to be taught to swim and wash, and it is very difficult for humans if there is no other adult otter to show them how.
Orphaned otter babies also get sick very easily, as they do not receive antibodies from their mother’s milk. If you have had to care for abandoned puppies or kittens, this will ring a bell.
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Many orphan otters raised by humans end up unable to live in their habitat, as they rely too much on humans, and have to live in captivity.
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In a California aquarium they have managed to increase the number of baby otters that can successfully return to their habitat by letting other otters raise them. They give it to an adult female otter, and because they are so sociable, most don’t think twice about raising a baby that is given to them.
Image credit: Yokohama Zoo Zoorasia
Image credit: Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez
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