This past week I spent my summer vacation Sea Kayaking off the Pacific Coast of Canada in the Broken Group Islands - it was breathtaking.
Remote. Pure. Wild.
While out on the water we saw starfish, seals, sea lions, and humpback whales. On the land where we camped, we saw old growth forests, bald eagles, and a 900-year-old cedar tree, 20 feet in diameter.
But, we didn’t see any sea otters – perhaps the cutest animal in the northern pacific.
Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) which were once estimated at 150,000–300,000, were hunted extensively for their fur between 1741 and 1911, and the world population fell to 1,000–2,000.
In the area Pacific Coast of BC where I was kayaking, the Northern Sea Otter was completely exterminated for over 50 years. But in 1969, 89 Alaskan sea otters were relocated to the west coast of Vancouver Island – and have been successfully breading since and now count approximately 3,000.
So, it’s not surprising that we didn’t see any, but it is still sad. How many times must we be reminded of our impact on nature?
Denis Leary a comedian with uncompromising sense of humor aimed at hypocrisy once said:
“There’s the problem. We only want to save the cute animals, don’t we? Yeah. Why don’t we just have animal auditions. Line ‘em up one by one and interview them individually.
‘What are you?’
‘I’m an otter.’
‘And what do you do?’
‘I swim around on my back and do cute little human things with my hands!’
‘You’re free to go . . . .And what are you?’
‘I’m a cow.’
‘Get in the fucking truck, okay, pal?’
‘But I’m an animal!’
‘You’re a baseball glove! Get on that truck!’”
Ironic and sad that situation we are in. If you’d like to learn more about the protection status of sea otters read more here.
But to cheer you up, here are my favorite pictures of sea others.
(Click to enlarge)