Posted by seahunt on December 17, 2002 at 08:40:59:
In Reply to: Don't take my word for it.... posted by msblucow on December 15, 2002 at 08:08:59:
Since I do keep up with the research as best I can and because I do approach things with a far more open mind than some people think, I only thought it responsible and honest to check these links that Marta said told a different story than I believed.
What I found did was nothing new and really had little to do with science. Most reports at these links just reviewed otter natural history and the recent decline in otter population for reasons currently mostly unknown. Other points made are that the otters are good for kelp. Whoopee! The only animal species that use kelp are the ones that otters devestate. Another point is that they are a good (cute) poster child specie for gaining protection for the coast. The one other point that was valid is that they promote diversity on the reef which is good. This is a valid point, but they often make the reef seem so barren, that I'm not so sure.
I did find one interesting point though at the last link. It did suggest a reason for the otter population decline. Over use of vital resources by the otters. I think it rather clearly supports my position that the otters live in a perpetual state of near starvation and are very depletive of the reefs. So read Marta's links. I think they support my position far more than they disagree.
Enjoy the diving, seahunt
Excerpt from article at http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/research/sea_otter/seaotter_mortality.html
The observations of a raft of male otters south of Point Conception suggests that the California otter population may be facing food and habitat limitations, and that these are the cause of the decline. Ron Jameson's article on sea otter range expansion in the Fall/Winter 1998 issue of The Otter Raft fully discussed the biology behind this event. Food and habitat limitations could be mortality factors in themselves, by causing starvation or dispersal into unsuitable or dangerous areas. In addition, the stress and debility associated with limitations of these resources potentially could be expressed as a variety of health problems that are difficult to relate directly back to the underlying cause. In order to begin to sort out the complicated interactions among habitat types, food availability and sea otter health, the status of population and its resources must be assessed by examining indices such as the otters' movement patterns; proportion of their activity spent on searching for food; the abundance and size of their prey items; the size, distribution and quality of habitat in comparison with current otter locations; and the body condition of the otters themselves.
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