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Wild sea otter swims close to shore, plays with beach-goers in Victoria, BC
December 16, 2016
Sea otters were once extinct on Vancouver Island in Canada, eliminated by the fur trade that coveted their thick, waterproof pelts. A reintroduction program began in 1969, bringing 89 sea otters to the northwestern part of the island; today there are 3,000 of them living in various places along the island's shores, reports the Vancouver Island Wilderness and Historical Conservation, known as VI-Wilds.
Otters are very social animals that tend to stick to their family groups, but are known for their curiosity. In a video uploaded by allisonmoo in August 2014, a sea otter in Victoria, B.C. can be seen spending several minutes with a man in the water, swimming around and between his legs. Occasionally, the curious critter begins to climb the man's legs, apparently interested in what else he can see.
Although they are small for marine mammals, sea otters are actually the largest member of the weasel family. VI-Wilds reports that they can reach a maximum weight of 45 kilograms (99 pounds). Several of the YouTube comments on allisonmoo's video express surprise at the large size of the animal playing with the man.
The sea otter's antics in the video draw a crowd of amused onlookers. After several minutes of interaction, the otter finally seems to satisfy his curiosity about the man in the water with him. As he swims away from the man, he flips over onto his back and waves his paws in a goodbye motion that even Disney animators couldn't have made any cuter.