Sea otters have never been more popular. The Monterey Bay Aquarium opened in 1978 and its otter exhibit remains among the most popular draws.
Each year about 1.8 million people come to the aquarium to view the local marine life. Sea otters, which used to roam the entire northern Pacific Ocean, now have a smaller habitat that includes the Central California coast, are, perhaps, the main attraction.
Pictures and videos of these adorable creatures are all over the Internet as well. So people living in other parts of the world, who may not have been familiar with them, can now watch them swimming on their back, the position they adopt while eating and traveling with their babies.
Sea otters are very sociable animals as well. Mothers take very good care of their young, leaving them in a kelp bed while they fish, so they don't get taken away by the strong currents. Clustering together in groups, at the surface of the water, also keeps them from being washed away by the tide.
Morguefile photo by kconnors