In September, we brought you a story on how sea otters are helping to combat climate change. It was reported that new research published in the scientific journal, PNAS, showed that the reintroduction of sea otters to the Elkhorn Slough in Monterey Bay have had very positive effects on sea grass populations, even with the nutrient-rich water. Otters were hunted for their fur to near-extinction during the late 19th and 20th centuries.
Now, a documentary on Nature, a PBS series, follows the story of how marine biologist Karl Mayer and his staff at the Sea Otter Research and Conservation (SORAC) are trying to bring back sea otters from the brink of extinction. “Otter 501” (premiering Oct. 16) is the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s 501st attempt to save an orphan otter. The show follows her from her discovery stranded on the beach, to rehabilitation in secret roof tanks atop the Aquarium, and finally learning how to dive, hunt, eat, and fend for herself in the wild. She is helped along the way by human caretakers who are dressed in “Darth Vader-like” garb to conceal their identity so the pup is not bonded to humans. Once ready, she is cared for by the Aquarium’s resident otter foster mom, Toola. The program takes a look at the role human’s play in the decline of sea otters, and what exactly is our responsibility to save them.
Watch the trailer below: