Friday, November 4, 2011

The Sea Otters of Clayoquot Sound

For the rest of Canada, the beaver was the driving force that led to so much change and, eventually, the formation of Canada. But on the west coast, it was a different furry beast — the sea otter.

The search for sea otter, which was launched as soon as James Cooks' crews sold a few sea otters pelts in China for "princely sums" changed the west coast forever. Within a few years, traders were in Nootka and Clayoquot Sounds, and elsewhere along the coast, trading the native people for furs. It was a lively trade and there's a lot of stories to tell, but within about 50 years, the trade was all but over. The main source of the frenzy - the sea otter - was gone.

But...the sea otters are now back in Clayoquot Sound. For some people, that's great news. For others, not so much. (Complicated stuff and something for a longer, well-considered post.) For now, here is a great piece from Rod Palm, explaining recent events that saw the sea otters once again setting up in its traditional territory.

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