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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Sea otters attack Kamchatka


The population of sea otters (sea otters) inhabiting the coast of the commander Islands near the Kamchatka Peninsula after a long contraction began to recover. This became known in the course of the past record of their number.

Photo: a female sea otter. Photo: Ivan Rybakov

As reported “MK” the biologists of the reserve “commander”, for 11 hours, going on a motorboat 268 kilometers around the Islands Bering, Toporkov and Ariy Kamen, they counted the 1950 adults. Last year there were 130 less (1815).

With the 70-ies of XX century the population of this endangered species on the commander grew and reached a peak (4000 individuals) in 2007. Then every year the population began to decline and the population has decreased more than twice. A similar reduction (approximately two times) occurred on the Kuril Islands, the Kamchatka Peninsula and the adjacent Aleutian Islands. Biologists attribute this to the depletion of forage base of sea otters. Now the situation has stabilized.


Photo: otter on the shore. Photo: Ivan Rybakov

Concentrations of sea otters are typically observed at the border of the fields of algae near the shore. In the course of recording, the biologists noted the gps coordinates of the observation points, made measurements of the depth in these places. So the experts record the favorite habitat of animals and understand what they eat – because of the depth depends on what invertebrate could raise sea otters from the bottom of the ocean.

By the predator includes molluscs, sea urchins, and sometimes fish, up to 150 species of various organisms. For the ascent of the otter in the folds of skin on the chest can hold up to a dozen sea urchins at the same time, which then breaks the stone and eats lying on his back. Sea otters, and monkeys use tools, which is a sign of high intelligence.

Separately counts the cubs this season, has registered 200 puppies. The birth of offspring of sea otters occurs year-round, but peak whelping is celebrated from April to June. Almost all of the time babies stay in the mother’s stomach, which floats on the back. And when she dives for food, the baby remains on the surface and plaintively beeping. Because of the fluffy fur filled the air, drowning or dive for the mother he can’t.

The males guard the territory – some parts of the waters, on which float a few females. During mating the males keep a “friend” by the nose, making their noses can often detect the scars. Such scratches are a good sign for the separation of sea otters on the floor.


Photo: a mother and a baby. Photo: Evgeniy Mamaev

“These cute and clever animals are now listed in the Red book, and once was subjected to catastrophic destruction. The reason for this was their incredibly thick and warm fur,” – said Deputy Director for science reserve commander, marine mammal specialist Eugene Mamaev. 1 square centimeter skins have 100 thousand hairs, which is an absolute record in the animal world.

The fur of the sea otter has always been very expensive and ordinary people is not available. This is about him in “Eugene Onegin” A. S. Pushkin wrote “Frosty silvery dust his beaver collar”. According to the Internet, now on the black market, the cost is $ 3000 for the skin. For comparison, the sable is just 5-12 thousand rubles (up to $ 200).

By the end of XIX-beginning of XX century, the otter on the Islands was almost completely destroyed. For the first time mass hunting of sea otters on the Islands organized the expedition of Vitus Bering (1741-1742.), that were taken from the Bering island 700 skins of sea otters, in this case taken only the best. All subsequent expeditions were taken on average to 1,500 skins of sea otters. The intensity of the fishery has led to the fact that in 1756 on Bering island were unable to get any sea otters. Part of the population survived only on the island of Copper. In a further 70 years of the twentieth century there has begun work to restore its population.

Watch the video on “the rare Population of sea otters began to recover on the commander Islands”

Population of rare sea otters (sea otters) on the commander Islands began to recover after a long decline. These animals listed in the Red book. Currently there are 1950 adults.

Video: Evgeniy Mamaev

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