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View Diary: Toola: The Death of an Epic Otter Ambassador (47 comments)

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  •  Industrial run-off and outdoor cats; Save the Kelp (9+ / 0-)

    Speaking here as a former resident of Monterey who served on the waters of the bay, I certainly feel your pain very directly. It was always amazing to see an otter when out on patrol in the Bay or on a hike down the coast, and from a distance now I can only recommend that more people experience how special they are and how serious it is that they're dying off now.

    I believe the evidence is pointing to a couple of factors. The kelp forest returning certainly is the primary reason the otters came back, and insofar as anything can be done immediately, any efforts to support kelp forest environments are probably going to be most optimal.

    I know there are also some theories about otters competing for food with other marine mammal species in the area, and also being more subject to shark attacks now that ocean warming has brought more shark species to the area in greater numbers.

    The effects of industrial runoff (particularly pharmaceuticals) are not well-known yet but this is clearly a huge problem for the oceans in general, and efforts towards proper disposal of this stuff are in their infancy. I encourage all Kossacks to never flush or throw away medication of any sort; it will come back to you in the most unwelcome ways.

    Finally, not to beat up on LOLCats, but there's a definite link between toxoplasmosis-causing bacterium and otter deaths. Yes, outdoor kitties kill otters. I had a hard time convincing my fellow animal-lovers in the Monterey area that letting their cats outside not only risked their cats' health but was probably killing otters. It's not anti-cat to not want their poop and associated bacteria polluting the bay.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 08:22:06 AM PST

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