This is Science Today. If there's ever a big oil
spill off the northern California coast, animals
and birds there might have a fighting chance thanks
to a new oiled animal research station at the University
of California, Santa Cruz. The station will specialize
in otters, and marine scientist Steve Davenport
says, of course, it's better not to let them get
oiled in the first place.
Davenport: One strategy is to remove as many animals as possible from the path of the spill before they get oiled.
Narrator: But otters are smart, and rounding them up isn't easy.
Davenport: Once a particular sea otter, an individual, has been caught, it knows what's up and it's very difficult to catch a second time.
Narrator: Fortunately, there are ways to outsmart them.
Davenport: Scuba divers are used, who use rebreather units which don't emit bubbles when the diver breathes. So a diver can go to the bottom, cruise along the bottom and come up under an otter with a conical net and catch the otter at the surface from underneath without tipping the otter off to his presence by breathing bubbles.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar