killer whales and sea otters

It was the adorable sea otters, arguably the cutest animals in the ocean, who were brutally murdering these sharks. Killer whales were never known to attack the furry otters until recent years, much preferring a high-calorie diet of seals and sea lions, which unlike the otters are insulated with layers of blubber. A. Estes,* M. T. Tinker, T. M. Williams, D. F. Doak After nearly a century of recovery from overhunting, sea otter populations are in abrupt decline over large areas of western Alaska. Researchers have also demonstrated how killer whale predation on sea otters link oceanic and near shore ecosystems.5 Estes et al. Killer whales and sea otters maintained in captivity are the subjects of routine health monitoring programs, and interest in immunologic studies in sea otters has been rising recently in response to potential impacts from infectious disease and environmental pollution on the threatened southern sea otter population. When sea otters are the top predators, they consume sea urchins, which indirectly promotes kelp growth. Killer whales are about 26 feet long and eat 3 to 4 percent of their body weight a day. (The sea otter is an endangered species). 2. The report “Killer whale predation on sea otters: Linking oceanic and nearshore systems” by James A. Estes et al. Killer whales are known to inflict these types of wounds on sharks and there are killer whales in the area of False Bay but it turns out these orcas were falsely blamed for the shark murders. First, although killer whales and sea otters have been observed in close proximity for decades, the first attack on a sea otter was seen in 1991. Killer whales and sea otters have co-inhab-ited the west-central Aleutian archipelago for much of the past half century, and probably for millennia before. In the Aleutian Islands, a decline in sea otter populations in the 1990s was controversially attributed by some scientists to killer whale predation, although with no direct evidence. Read how it was nursed to health at the Seattle Zoo and how the zoo team successfully introduced it to their main sea otter tank. 200 adjacent Kuluk Bay (open circles), Adak lsland, co 00 Alaska. The killer whale (also known as the orca) generally did not consume sea otters in the past, but now consumes thousands of otters. The urchins became less regulated by sea otters and overgrazed on the kelp forests, from which a host of effects followed in the coastal ecosystem. Killer Whale Predation on Sea Otters Linking Oceanic and Nearshore Ecosystems J. Population trends and survival rates of sea otters in Clam Lagoon (solid squares) and 100 . Then, in a cunning ploy to avoid being eaten in Alaska’s Halibut Cove Lagoon, the quick-thinking otter hops on board. Some scientists have speculated that killer whales used to feed on whales, but stopped because of overexploitation cause be commercial whalers. The transient ecotype in the eastern North Pacific hunt marine mammals including sea otters. For an orca, a sea otter is a very small, very hairy hors d’oeuvre. 1998), and Vos et al. Video: Stunning moment ultra-rare all-white killer whale is spotted for the first time off the coast of Alaska . The shift in killer whale predation to sea otters caused a link between the near-shore and offshore ecosystem; transforming the three-trophic to a four-trophic system. P. R. Wade. However, most killer whale–sea otter interactions in Alaska and elsewhere were assumed to be non-aggressive (Kenyon, 1969). 2003, Larson 2015) They then began a recovery following… The otter is much smaller than the sea lions and seals, so the killer whales must eat more to get the same nourishment. Alaskan sea otters weigh between 35 and 90 pounds—and that includes lots of hair. (Otters have the densest fur of any animal.) affected. This crash began in the early 1990s, in the same year as one of the first confirmed sightings of a killer whale attacking a sea otter. This is the story of an orphaned baby sea otter. Why the killer whales changed their diet is still a matter of speculation, but people may be the culprits. Sea otters were almost extinct 100 years ago. Development of species-specific reagents for immunologic studies in … This change caused a wide range of far-reaching effects. More attacks have been reported ( 14 ) with the kids Otters/Killer whales study guide by languageofmyworld 15..., terms and more recent history for bigger rafts of otters to live otter population a group ecologists! Of killer whales and sea otters declines feet long and eat 3 to 4 percent of their normal,... 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