A team of biologists and enthusiastic volunteers from around the world has just completed a ground breaking survey of the Sea Otter population in the remote Kuril Islands. These volcanic islands to the north of Japan are home to a significant number of these endearing creatures that face an uncertain future in the face of challenges to their habitat.
Led by otter biologist and specialist, Katya Ovsyanikova, the 18 day voyage successfully completed the first ever uniform survey throughout the entire Kuril chain, and covered a total of 228 nautical miles. In total, 1863 adult animals and 363 pups were counted.
The data collected by ground and sea based teams using a new method of sampling will be analysed over the coming months. During the count divers also examined the seabed in well populated areas to determine the preferred diet of the otters. Ultimately this information will assist conservationists to come up with a strategy to protect the species. As with all scientific ventures, the data collected will no doubt raise many more questions about the Sea Otters and their habitat requirements. Heritage Expeditions hopes to be able to support the ongoing research in this field and thanks the volunteers for their magnificent efforts in the wild and unique Russian Far East.