Zoo 'Pub Talks' to discuss return of Oregon sea otters

Oct. 2 event features sea otter conservationists from the Elakha Foundation

Once common along the Oregon coast, sea otters were hunted almost to extinction for their rich fur in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Although they have made a comeback elsewhere, they remain missing from Oregon. What will it take to help them return?

That's the question at the heart of Oregon Sea Otters: Once and Future, the first Oregon Zoo Pub Talk of the season, taking place Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. in the zoo's Cascade Crest Banquet Center.

Robert Bailey, president of the Elakha Alliance, and Peter Hatch, a Siletz tribal member who serves on Elakha's board of directors, will explore the history of sea otters in Oregon, their ecological and cultural importance to the region, and the prospects for their return and recovery. The talk will also touch on the mission of the Elakha Alliance, an Oregon nonprofit devoted to sea otter conservation.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at oregonzoo.org/talks. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with seasonal food and beverages available for purchase, and themed educational entertainment taking place from 6 to 7 p.m.

The Oregon Zoo Pub Talks series, presented by the Oregon Zoo Foundation, offers a chance to hear from conservation experts in a casual setting. Each month a conservation, animal-care or wildlife-science professional will share their knowledge and experience saving animals across the planet, from the Tanzanian savanna to the forests of Borneo to the coastal wetlands of the Pacific Northwest.

Pub Talks continue through the spring with the following presentations:

Friday, Oct. 11: Human-Elephant Coexistence in Sabah, Borneo
As the native forests of Borneo are cleared to grow crops, elephants are forced to graze in farms and palm oil plantations, sometimes with tragic results. Dr. Farina Othman is on the frontlines of efforts to reduce human-elephant conflicts and save the wild elephants of Borneo.

Wednesday, Nov. 13: Get Stuck on the Pacific Lamprey
Pre-dating dinosaurs, the Pacific lamprey plays a vital role in Pacific Northwest ecology and culture. Christina Wang, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Jeremy FiveCrows, from the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, talk about this fascinating ancient fish.

Wednesday, Feb. 19: Training Orangutans in Borneo to Improve Welfare
Oregon Zoo keepers traveled to Borneo to help train orangutans and staff at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. The team worked with a range of ages, from non-releasable adult orangutans to younger animals who may one day be released back to the forest.

Wednesday, April 8: True Tall Tales from Tanzania
Derek Lee and Monica Bond of the Wild Nature Institute discuss their efforts to save giraffes in Tanzania. Over the past decade, Lee and Bond have been monitoring thousands of giraffes to understand how food supply, disease, natural predation, humans, social relationships, and even spot types affect these gentle giants.

The Oregon Zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, Western pond turtles and Oregon spotted frogs. Other projects include studies on black rhinos, Asian elephants, polar bears and bats.
The zoo relies in part on community support through donations to the Oregon Zoo Foundation to undertake these and many other animal welfare, education and sustainability programs. The zoo is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26 at exit 72. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Find fare and route information online or by calling TriMet Customer Service at 503-238-RIDE (7433).
General zoo admission is $10.50 (ages 12-64), $9 for seniors (65 and up), $7.50 for children (ages 3-11) and free for those 2 and younger; 25 cents of the admission price helps fund regional conservation projects through the zoo’s Future for Wildlife program. A parking fee of $4 per car is also required. Additional information is available by calling 503-226-1561.

Media contact: 

Hova Najarian | 503-220-5714 | hova.najarian@oregonzoo.org
Kelsey Wallace | 503-220-5754 | kelsey.wallace@oregonzoo.org