The Oregon Zoo is proud to participate in Sea Otter Awareness Week on Sunday, September 21. This event aims to educate the public about the critical role sea otters play in marine ecosystems. Our staff will host keeper talks paired with enrichment and/or training sessions with the sea otters at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Sea Otters once ranged along the North Pacific Rim from Japan to Baja, and are thought to have numbered between 150,000 to 300,000 animals. By 1911, aggressive fur-trapping campaigns had reduced the global population to an estimated 2,000 individuals. Although sea otters are now protected against trapping, they are threatened by oil spills, fishing nets and infectious diseases. Over the past 30 years, the species population is believed to have been reduced by 50%. Wild sea otters have not established colonies off the Oregon coast since 1907, though a few individual otters have been sighted, most recently in Depoe Bay in 2009.
Learn more about the Oregon Zoo's sea otters, and what you can do to help protect sea otters in the wild.