I have a link on my Facebook page to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I’ve been keeping up with the new sea otter pup, Kitt, that they rescued from the bay early in January. She was about 5 weeks old and far too little to be on her own. They have a surrogate/release program at the Aquarium, however, all the surrogates were unavailable (a sad comment itself) so the aquarium petitioned the government to keep Kitt and put her on display with an older otter named Mae, to be her mentor. This would be her only chance to survive, unfortunately, it means that she won’t be released back into the wild.
For the past few weeks I’ve been getting article & video updates on the new pup. Today I realized that they have a sea otter cam, real time…..this I had to see. On to the link I went, WOW! What I found was not only do they have a camera on the 2 beautiful otters (viewing times are posted), but they have live cameras on a few of the other exhibits, such as the Kelp Forest, the Penguins and even a 24 cam on Monterey Bay.
About a year ago I watched this great documentary on Monterey Bay Aquarium’s kelp forest which is beautiful and unique to an aquarium – it has sea water that pumps in and out of it by using the actual tide of the bay. It’s the tidal movement which is what makes it a successful environment. It is a beautiful doc, 1 that I try to watch every time I see that it is on.
Recently the Aquarium rescued a Great White Shark. They put her in the large display tank while she recovered from her injuries. This has always been a tricky animal to have in captivity and this shark was no exception. She lasted longer than any white sharks have in captivity. She began to attack the residents in the large tank, and in the end they released her back into the wild where she belongs.
I’ve always been a little unsure of the roll of Zoo’s and Aquarium’s in our society, it seems so cruel to keep an animal in a small enclosed space when it’s used to being able to roam free. However, roaming free is not working out so well for some animals, like Kitt, if they hadn’t rescued her she would have died, not having a mother to teach and take care of her. In addition, a lot of places now have breeding & release programs to help repopulate. Educating the” human animals” is also important. We’re so many now and we are creeping into their enviroment, our lifestyles are doing so much harm, we are definitely hurting them and in some cases we’re being hurt by them.
Shark attacks, for example, there are way more surfers now and we are the most likely to be attacked. There are various theories on why, some people feel that we look like their favorite food from under water. I guess, there’s room for the argument that a splashing human on a board from underneath does look quite a bit like a seal, and therefore dinner, but then they also say that sharks have poor eyesight, good “hearing” though.
I guess we have to figure out if the ends justify the means for keeping animals in zoos or aquariums. If we continue to encroach on their territory, and continue to ignore the pollution issues, zoo’s and aquariums might be the only safe haven for these animals.
Until that moral/ethical question is answered, I’m going to enjoy watching Kitt grow up and become a beautiful little sea otter. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to visit her at the aquarium.