SeaDoc Society Science Director Joe Gaydos reviews Return of the Sea Otter: the story of the animal that evaded extinction on the Pacific coast, by Todd McLeish.
Whether you are in the camp that defines sea otters as the epitome of cute or in the other camp with abalone, sea cucumber or urchin fisherman who see them as their nemesis, there is no debating that the sea otter plays a key role in shaping healthy nearshore ocean ecosystems. From Alaska to California, these fascinating and complex animals have survived centuries of harvest and persecution. In at least one location, they’ve even been targeted as prey by killer whales.
In his book Return of the Sea Otter, Todd McLeish tells this story. But he also tells the other side of the story; the one of multiple translocation efforts, research and rehabilitation – the story of people committed to making the world a better place, once species at a time.
Beautifully written, entertaining and engaging, McLeish’s tale of the sea otter will make you love this incredible animal and the ocean even more, and will leave you with hope that our intensive efforts to better understand and heal our stressed ocean can and will make a difference.