Community Papers

There otter be a law

This pesky sea otter has taken to hanging out at the Oak Bay Marina, stealing food from the local seal population as well as a few humans. While he attracts quite a bit of attention from visitors, he could cause damage to boats and is dangerous to people as well, so marina staff will relocate the creature. - Christine van Reeuwyk/News staff
This pesky sea otter has taken to hanging out at the Oak Bay Marina, stealing food from the local seal population as well as a few humans. While he attracts quite a bit of attention from visitors, he could cause damage to boats and is dangerous to people as well, so marina staff will relocate the creature.
— image credit: Christine van Reeuwyk/News staff

He is cute and popular with visitors, but his days of hanging out at the Oak Bay Marina are numbered.

An otter has been regularly appearing on a dock where visitors frequently feed harbour seals with fish purchased from the marina gift shop. However, when he appears, he isn’t shy about what he wants – his cut of either seal or human food.

“He’s not afraid of people,” said Susan Barcham, communications and corporate affairs director for the marina. “He will jump right onto the dock and get very close to people.”

Visitors love the otter but Barcham said people are forgetting he’s a wild animal with sharp teeth and claws. Due to his lack of fear and the potential for human injury as tourist season begins, the marina plans to relocate the furry creature. So far, Barcham is unaware of the otter injuring anyone.

“He is very, very cute, but he is a wild animal and people need to be careful,” Barcham said. “We want to be humane so we are going trap him and move him out.”

Otters do periodically appear at the marina, but they are never this fearless, Barcham said, and while visitors may love seeing them, a lot of boaters don’t.

“They tend to be a boater’s nemesis,” she said. “They will get up onto boats and make a mess. They will get under tarpaulin, into any opening they can find and hang out for a while.”

The marina plans to relocate the otter as soon as possible.

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