February 22, 2018

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Threatened: The Controversial Struggle of the Southern Sea Otter | SLJ DVD Review

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redstarThreatened: The Controversial Struggle of the Southern Sea Otter. 41 min. Dist. by the Video Project. 2013 released in 2015. Price $59. ISBN unavail.Threatened The Controversial Struggle of the Southern Sea Otter

Gr 7 Up –This insightful documentary provides information on the history of the southern sea otter’s journey back from the brink of extinction and presents both sides of the repercussions of the restoration of a protected sea otter zone. Environmentalists and their supporters argue that the otters have existed for thousands of years, are a keystone species in the ecosystem, and will bring in tourist dollars. However, fishermen complain that the mammals are interfering with their livelihood, that they should inhabit controlled and limited areas, and that they adversely impact the commercial shellfish industry. A discussion of the various human-generated perils to the otters (a deadly illness caused by water pollution) details the plight to the animals’ population and dovetails with the stresses other wildlife in the region face. Beautiful footage of the coastal region of Southern California and the marine environment—and the otters in it—complement the balanced presentation of information. Pair with the briefer No Otter Zone (2013, the Video Project) to examine the breadth and depth of the research and actions taken on behalf of these charismatic creatures. VERDICT An excellent film for environmental science, ecology, and marine biology classes.–Cynthia Ortiz, Hackensack High School, NJ

This review was published in the School Library Journal February 2016 issue.