Sentinels of the Sea
Exhibit sea otter Abby pauses during her busy day to catch your eye. Like her fellow "gal pals" in the sea otter exhibit, Abby sometimes works behind the scenes as a companion and surrogate mother to injured adults and stranded pups, both of which she looks after until their release back to the wild.
Despite its cuteness, the sea otter is the top predator of the nearshore kelp forest habitat. Also known as a sentinel, the health of an animal at the top of the food chain usually indicates the health of its environment, too. Our research work with sea otters is showing us where they—and their kelp forest homes—are most vulnerable.