________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 10 . . . . January 19, 2001

Sea Otters. (Champions of the Wild Series).

Chris Aikenhead (Director). Christian Bruyere (Producer). Michael Chechik (Executive Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1998.
25 min., 30 sec., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C9198 146.

Subject Headings:
Watson, Jane.
Endangered species.
Wildlife conservation.

Grades 6 and up / Ages 11 and up.

Review by Stephanie Yamniuk.

*** /4

This video offers an informative look at the ecological impact the British Columbia sea otters are having on the marine life of the coastal reef. Sea Otters can be enjoyed by students of many ages and can be used in segments or in its entirety, depending on the teacher's intentions.

      "When Mother Nature decided to dress the sea otter, she must have been feeling generous." Their special coat is described in detail--100,000 human hairs in comparison to 800 million hairs on the sea otter. The texture and cleanliness of their hair are integral to their survival in the cold waters in which they live. Because the sea otter was close to extinction in 1911, there was a ban put on its being hunted. This ban benefitted the coastal reefs in a significant way. The sea otters' diet includes sea urchins which were destroying the reefs. They eat all the kelp on the coast, and, when there are too many sea urchins in one area, they destroy the ecological system.

      The video provides much factual information, including the point that the sea otter eats one-third of its weight and burns up three times as much as a land animal of the same size. Their energy is seen in the constant turning and flipping in the water which keeps them warm. They eat 9000 pounds of food each year, which, in terms of people food, equals 100 hamburgers each day for a year. They are the only mammals that use utensils to eat their food and are lucky to have few natural enemies.

      Sea Otters is a bit long to keep a younger student's attention; it goes back and forth between sea otter expert Jane Watson and the narration of the sea otter's survival skills and natural habitat.


Stephanie Yamniuk works at the University of Manitoba and is a freelance writer.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364