Tattoo of the Day
Tattoo by Hayley Lakeman.
Sea otters are social animals that can sometimes be found floating in groups (called rafts) of more than 100 individuals. They spend the majority of their time in the water, even giving birth in the frigid sea. Their coat is invaluable- keeping the animal’s skin dry. Unlike other marine mammals that have a thick layer of blubber to keep warm, sea otters have a thick underfur that traps air to form an insulating, waterproof barrier against the cold water. This fur can consist of up to one million hairs per square inch! If a sea otter’s coat is soiled or contaminated with foreign substances, like oil, it will lose its insulating properties and the otters can die from hypothermia as a result.
Due to the fur trade in the early 1900’s, the number of otters plummeted from over one million to a mere 2,000. Intense conservation efforts in California, Alaska, and Canada has helped to stabilize their numbers. Although the sea otter population is considered stable, subpopulations in some areas are continuing to decline for unknown reasons. Sea otters are currently listed as ‘endangered’ on the IUCN Red List, and continue to be threatened by oil spills, chemical and biological pollutants, habitat loss and degradation, reduced food sources, disease, fishing gear entrapment, and conflict with shellfish fisheries.
Remember: Tattoos are forever… and so is extinction. To see all of the FANTASTIC art featured on Bush Warriors Tattoo of the Day, and to learn more about this initiative, please click here. You can also share photos of your own wildlife tattoos and enjoy others’ at our Facebook group, Bush Warriors Inked Nation for Conservation.