Sea otters can help to fight climate change by just doing what they know best – eating sea urchins, crabs and clams at the rate of almost a quarter of their body weight a day. Their favorite food happens to be the enemy of underwater forests of giant kelp, which are an invaluable source of carbon sequestration, soaking up all the carbon from the water. When sea otters were mercilessly slaughtered for their fur in California, the sea bed was over-run by sea urchins which destroyed huge underwater forests of giant kelp, turning it into a rocky ‘urchin barren’. A 10,000 percent increase in urchins in recent years has resulted in the loss of 95 percent of the kelp forests in California. Since 2002 the Monterey Bay Aquarium has run a unique adoption program for otters, encouraging sea otter moms in captivity to teach their skills to orphaned pups pulled out from the bay. The adoptees are then reintroduced into the sea and many have thrived and reproduced. And their ravenous eating habits are helping to keep the numbers of sea urchins and crabs down, thereby helping the kelp to revive and bring back a thriving ‘blue carbon’ eco-system.

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