Southern Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) are a fixture in Monterey Bay, California. On our whale watch last year, we saw this little whiskered fellow hanging out by a kelp forest and munching on a clam. At first, he was floating on his back in the water with a clam on his chest and next he had cracked the clam and was eating. They are such delightful creatures. Although the Southern Sea Otter population is much larger than earlier in the 20th Century, they are still dying at alarming rates and struggling to survive. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is doing a lot of research on these otters and has a wonderful exhibit of otters who are unable to be released back into the wild.