Dumas the Sea Otter

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My friend, Dumas

Puget Sound has not seen sea otters for decades. Then two showed up in different parts of the sound; it is not clear from whence they came. McAllister had swum 5 miles up McAllister Creek, which empties into Puget Sound between Tacoma and Olympia, to the point where he got stranded on the spillway of the dam below McAllister Springs, a water source for the city of Olympia. He was captured and treated at Point Defiance zoo and released. Dumas showed up a few months later a bit further north in the Sound. He was apparently also not very wary of humans.

Sea otters are normally wary, but they are also very social creatures. Perhaps, in the absence of members of their own kind, they were driven to take up with humans. Dumas stayed for six months in a bay, for which she was named, near my house between Seattle and Tacoma.

Dumas was eventually deemed too friendly by U.S. Fish and Wildlife and flown by helicopter to the ocean with the hope that she would be welcomed into the sea otter colonies that have reestablished themselves on the Olympic coast of Washington.