Posted by kelphead on March 02, 2001 at 20:06:45:
In Reply to: the past is a mysterious place... posted by mike on March 02, 2001 at 19:26:09:
"As for otters "starving" themselves, nature is cruel (or perhaps, indifferent is a better word) beyond belief. Many species,
predator or otherwise, reqularly experience their own little holocausts with the waxing and waning of the seasons, ENSO
events and other vagaries of planetary climate. Most predators regulate their population DENSITY via territoriality (the losers
starve or die of their wounds), while their total population may be regulated by food availability."
my point exactly.
"Sea otters and sea lions are cute and fuzzy and so they tug at the heart strings of humans..."
weeell, there's lots of cute and 'cuddly' animals
around, dolphins and whales have their own lobbyists,
too. actually, many animals worldwide get as much
attention as sea otters. for goodness sakes, the
black sea bass is protected, is that fish cute
and cuddly...?...i think this 'cute & cuddly' issue
is a moot point. wolves are not 'cute & cuddly'
yet they seem to have gotten as much protection
and support as sea otters.
the reason why we should try to BALANCE out the
ecosystem as much as humanly possible isn't
for cute and cuddliness: it's to a)protect
our own natural resources for our own selves; and
b)b/c as a spiritual/religious person, i believe
we actually have a moral obligation to care for
God's creation and not to abuse it.
personally, i love bats.
= : )
"The interesting question also arises; when otters recolonize an area of urchin barrens, will the kelp forests return?"
i learned more recently, and you can correct me
on this, that the sheephead is a predator
of sea urchin and plays/ed a role in controlling
their pops as well. so, it's not just a one-sided
issue that sea otters are the exclusive predators
of sea urchin (and we know that a lot of other fish
like sea urchin if they have an opportunity to get
at the meat). so, i would think your question
may need to be modified to include other players
in this game:
if sea otters are reintroduced, what will the affect
if sea otters AND 'natural' levels of sheephead
AND other sea urchin predators are introduced, what
will the competitiveness be and how will all these
players affect the same ecosystem?
"...and i'm not sure that it may have harbored "millions" of sea otters."
well, i'm referring to up and down the entire west
coast, not just a limited area, if that makes any difference.
as for sea otters being a threat to my diving area,
frankly i'm more terrified about the new weed on
the block that may be on the verge of really doing
some permanent kelp forest damage if they don't figure out
how to stop it(!).
= : O
whatever damage a sea otter does MAY in fact be
short term, assuming the rest of the ecosystem is
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