Skip to comments.Sea otters face a growing threat: shark attacks
Posted on 02/18/2012 8:42:25 AM PST by null and void
California's sea otters have struggled for years with diseases, parasites and even the occasional collision with boats. But now the fuzzy coastal mascots are increasingly facing another threat: shark attacks.
It's difficult to say that white shark numbers are increasing. Last year, the first comprehensive study of the number of white sharks off the California coast estimated there are 219, fewer than previously thought.
Block said other species of sharks, including sevengills and makos, might also be attacking otters. She said having a population of large predators is healthy for any ecosystem, and that more research is needed before clear conclusions can be drawn.
One major change: the abundance of elephant seals. Until 1990, the large mammals were rare along the coast in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. But that year, two dozen came ashore at Piedras Blancas, near Hearst Castle. Now there are more than 15,000.
Had the rate of shark attacks remained where it was a decade ago, there would be about 500 more California sea otters now -- around 3,250, according to his computer models. That would be enough to reach the 3,090 population target to remove the otter from the federal endangered species list.
Can anything be done?
"It's a hard thing to explain to people," he said. "But there's nothing we can do about changes in shark distribution or shark behavior. It's natural."
(Excerpt) Read more at mercurynews.com ...
"But there's nothing we can do about changes in shark distribution or shark behavior. It's natural."
Yet we are constantly told that we can wipe them out without even trying, and how fragile the whole system is...
Due to global warming no doubt. Anything bad is due to global warming.
I’m sure it’s not deliberate. The sharks are probably just mistaking the otters for surfers.
The otters ought to starting wearing liberal democrat costumes. Then the sharks would leave them alone out of professional curtesy.
Otters are playful animals and until recently it was mostly male otters getting bitten by the sharks. Probably what we have here is some kind of initiation ritual for otter gangs--the new member has to taunt a shark as part of the ritual...and sometimes they get killed doing so.
Why there are more female otters being bitten recently is harder to explain, but they should not rule out the possibility that these are lesbian otters who are imitating male behavior.
“The otters ought to starting wearing liberal democrat costumes. Then the sharks would leave them alone out of professional curtesy.”
Give the otters Johnnie Cochran masks.
What? Some wild animals kill and eat others? But ... they told me at school that Nature is Good!
Until the abalone population returns, we have too many otters.
Let the sharks feast.
“One major change: the abundance of elephant seals.”
There you go. I also assume these are a protected species thus leading to ballooning in numbers and drawing in more predators for a quick meal.
A moose bit my sister once.
It’s that damned Navy sonar hypnotizing the sharks!
I’ve been praying that one PETA idiot jumps into a lion’s cage to defend the animal...
I would especially like to see the Otter skin coat come back in style. These little pests eat a couple thousand dollars worth of abalone a day.
Does California have a pro-cockroach group?
It’s California. Nobody cares. The otters don’t pay union dues.
Gee, here’s a dumb thought,...try KILLING the sharks!!!!!
The Arizona Republic runs a column on page A-2 daily with environmental information. Most often they are of the form, “Environmentalists say xxx may be the cause...
Or, preliminary tests show xxx could be the result of xxx.
“mays, coulds, seems, mights” IOW guesses. Never an ounce of proof offered. Just a sentence to scare the public into believing the wacko’s line of BS.
Invariably they are later shown to be either false or never heard from again.
Wackos trying to justify their continuing grants.
I’m still not sure what the elephant seals have to do with anything. Ok, there are more of them. How does that relate to the story about otters? Seems like the sharks could be feasting on elephant seals and leave the otters alone.
Who writes this garbage, anyway?
This is all about producing the paperwork to keep them on the endangered species list and most of it is guessing.
There should be 500 more sea otters. The other 500 were probably scared off from all the environmental scientists floating around in their kayyaks taking measurements. Mr. Rogers, it’s not hard to make people believe the sun is going to disappear during an eclipse. The problem for the scammers is when the sun starts to reappear. The release of the climategate emails has caused the sun to reappear big time.
Julie Packard is exercising the communist philosophy of ‘perfect knowledge’ in the central planning and control of the ‘sanctuary’ which used to be California state waters owned by the citizens of this state.
In her ‘perfect knowledge’ if she controls one aspect of the ‘system’, e.g. fishing, then she will have a ‘perfect’ system in her own mind.
She’s an idiot to believe she understands or can control all the inputs and the outputs of her self created system.
Under her control, we have seen the death of the Italian and Portuguese human cultures in the vicinity of her system, an unhealthy for humans and animals overpopulation of sea lions in her system and now the sea otters, which the aquarium uses to propagandize their communist views to everyone, are being killed by sharks, which they had used to propagandize their communist views previously.
Poor Julie, it takes a lot of work to have ‘perfect knowledge’ and command and control central planning. She’s falling off her game!
That said, from what I have read about GWS “attacks” on sea otters; the current theory is that these incidents are likely to be investigatory bites; or, possibly, territorial behavior. This is because most of the evidence for these “attacks” on sea otters consists of the decapitated carcasses found floating w/no evidence of the shark having fed upon the otter. (Of course, who knows how many otters may have been consumed whole and left no evidence of the attack.)
Bottom line: Who knows why a GWS “attacks” a sea otter ...or a human??? Maybe GWS just “think” we're some sort of chewy “shark toy” and it's a fun game!
Finally, the obligatory: “You're more likely to be killed driving to the beach than to be bitten by a GWS.” (Yeah, but, if you go swimming or surfing near a dropoff where GWS are known to feed on pinnepeds the odds go up substantially!!!)
...and, no, I don't want to exterminate GWS; they're fascinating animals; just advocating a little common sense and greater objectivity in the science surrounding these magnificent marine predators.
So...who is “Mr. Rogers”?
In the 1970s and 80s there was a huge environmental push to bring back the sea otters. Since sea otters are greatly affected by oil spills, anti-oil environmentalists incorporated otter restoration as part of their PR effort against offshore oil drilling. Huge sums were spent to bring the cute little abalone-crunchers back to California waters.
This is anecdotal but as the numbers of sea otters increased I noticed that the number of shark attacks on humans did too. This is logical since sharks follow their sea otter prey and more sharks equal more attacks on humans.
Now the ultra-liberal Mercury News frets that nothing can be done about sharks devouring their favorite food. As Pogo famously said: "I have met the enemy and he is us."
Especially when served with a lashing of Worcestershire and a nice glass of wine.
I’ve eaten shark a couple of times (yes, with red wine) but never a sea otter. I wouldn’t think a small carnivorous mammal would be very tasty, although if one were hungry enough ...
I really wish I still had my seal skin jacket. It would drive the libs crazy. Also it was nice and warm.
Didn't the same thing happen in Florida when they decided you couldn't hunt crocodiles anymore? They ended up with a lot of them.
I suppose it is too much for the enviromentalists mind to cope with, that we humans are also a "natural predator". And, we too, contribute to the balance of nature.
Gosh, I’ll bet that was warm!
So give us more tax money to "study" the "problem".
Can you say "global warming"? I knew you could!
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