Whether they are diving, playing, splashing about, or holding paws while they sleep, sea otters are undeniably charming . . . some may even say they are “otterly” adorable. More than just a fuzzy face, sea otters play a vital role in coastal ecosystems, keeping kelp forests — which provide a home to marine animals and protect our shorelines from wind and waves — in balance. Vancouver Aquarium, an Ocean Wise initiative, invites you to celebrate sea otters during Sea Otter Awareness Week. From Saturday, Sept. 23 to Sunday, Oct. 1, visitors can learn more about sea otters, the challenges they face in the wild, and how to help conserve this cute and crucial species.
Sea otters live in coastal waters in the North Pacific Ocean. In British Columbia, they are found along the central coast near Bella Bella, and along the windswept west coast of Vancouver Island. The only sea otters near Vancouver are the six living at Vancouver Aquarium. During Sea Otter Awareness Week, Aquarium visitors can get to know Tanu, Katmai, Mak, Kunik, Rialto, and four-month-old pup Hardy — rescued otters and ambassadors for their species — and take in special programs and activities, such as:
· Watching daily sea otter feeds and enrichment sessions at the sea otter habitat. (See the schedule for program times.)
· Enjoying a sea otter puppet show — fun for the young and the young-at-heart — at 10:45 a.m. daily in the Teck Engagement Gallery.
· Understanding the role sea otters play in coastal ecosystems during the Life in the Kelp Forest program at 12:30 p.m. daily at the Strait of Georgia exhibit, and by watching The Kelp Forest Ecosystem Ocean Wise Brain Waves episode.
Vancouver Aquarium is located in Stanley Park and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased onsite or online at www.vanaqua.org/visit.
Since the 1980s, the Aquarium and its Marine Mammal Rescue Centre — the only one of its kind in Canada — have supported sea otter rehabilitation and provided a home for non-releasable animals. To support the Aquarium’s conservation and education efforts and the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, you can symbolically adopt a sea otter by purchasing an Aquadopt Kit or making a contribution.
Vancouver Aquarium, an Ocean Wise initiative, is one of the world’s leading accredited aquariums, dedicated to the conservation of aquatic life. www.vanaqua.org
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, presented by Port Metro Vancouver, is a hospital for sick, injured or orphaned marine mammals. The Rescue Centre rescues stranded marine mammals and rehabilitates them for release back into their natural habitat. Donate to the Rescue Centre at www.vanaqua.org/mmr.
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