Sea Otter Eating Urchin
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Sea otter Enhydra lutris – Milo, born 1999 in the Lisbon Oceanarium, then moved to the Vancouver Aquarium at the age of nine months. He was first introduced to Nyac a survivor of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Milo would later be introduced to Tanu, an orphan, rescued by the Alaska Sea Life Centre. Milo is most famous for starting in a YouTube video featuring himself and Nyac holding paws, which has been viewed over 13 million times. Sea Otters were once hunted to extinction off the coast of British Columbia during the fur trade of the 1800's. Most marine mammals use blubber for insulation, though Sea Otters use their fur. The Sea Otters fur in the thickest fur in the world, with over 400000 hairs per square centimeter; it's said the animal’s skin never gets wet. Aiding the Sea Otter in creating body heat is their metabolism, eating 25 - 38% of their body weight daily the calories they burn help keep them warm.
Sadly in August 2011 Milo was diagnosed with lymphoma and shortly after became the first sea otter to under go chemotherapy. Unfortunately, Milo passed away peacefully on January 11th 2012 surrounded by those cared for him every day.
Sea otters are one of the few species on the in the North Pacific that prey upon sea urchins. As such during their near miss with extinction the sea urchin population increased significantly. With the increased number of sea urchins preying upon lush kelp forests, in the early 1900’s the kelp forests began to disappear. Without the kelp forest many fish species along the Northwest coast of North American lost vital habitat for rearing young.