Are otters any different that any other critter?

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Posted by Wayne on December 17, 2002 at 15:27:45:

In Reply to: Believe it or not, otters, but different thoughts. posted by seahunt on December 17, 2002 at 14:53:44:

My thinking is that almost all critters exist at or near starvation levels. If there is too much food and comfort, they reproduce wildly and saturate the environment. If the food/shelter is reduced the numbers are reduced, but the same situation (saturation) will exist of them being at the ragged edge of existence.

So before we hunted, the prey mix was different. I would not say it was better or worse, but it was different. Some critters adapted, some thrived, and some died off or live at greatly reduced numbers.

I think it is all one of those "Good old days" arguments. Some argue 'Back then it was "better" or "more natural", but now it is worse because humans were the cause of the recent changes.' We celebrate the species that adapt and flourish as long as we had nothing to do with the pressure that provided them the opportunity.

Otters are really cute and remind me of puppies. Therefore I can wrongly identify them as cute domestic critters that would be welcome in my home. Just as I would not want to live too close to wild dogs, in reality I do not want to live with otters.

But if it were dolphins, it would be different. I still remember Bud and Sandy being rescued by Flipper while Porter was cruising around in his boat. Based on this sure knowledge, I attach a very high value to dolphins and a low value to sharks. Flipper used to have to kill them to save Bud and Sandy sometimes -- so I know they are bad.

Wild animals are all important, but the value we attach to them is often irrational. The real issue needs to be driven by what kind of world we want. When we say we want a human hunter/fisher friendly world, we have to accept that this is different than the other choices available. If we want cheap tuna, we have to live with fewer dolphins. It is all about choices. The hard part is that the variables are never well defined and prediction of the final status is rarely correct. What is a mess is that so many will jump up and down about a particular species becasue they are cute (otters and dolphins) and ignore others because they are mean (sharks). I am much more concerned about the slaughter of sharks than a few cute furball eating machines.


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