I take sea otters with me every where I go. I've taken them to jungles from Borneo to Botswana.
How and why? Here's the story. . .
Russian fur traders, beginning in the 1700's, hunted the sea otter for its valuable pelt. The sea otter has more hair per square millimeter than an other animal on earth. This makes garments made from sea otters the warmest natural coat available. Worked great for humans, badly for the Southern Sea Otter off the California coast. As late as the 1900s, scientists believed the gorgeous sea otter to be extinct.
It was assumed that sea otters were extinct due to Russian exploitation.
Fortunately in 1938 a small raft, a group of sea otters, was found near the hamlet of Lucia, in California's rugged Big Sur wilderness. In the 1930's the only access to the tiny Lucia cove would have been by boat. Coasters anchored merely a couple of miles further south at the confluence of Lime Kiln Creek and the rough Pacific Ocean. Even though the coasters hauled harvested lime from the creek area important for making San Francisco's streets, no one noticed the small raft of sea otters.
Once discovered scientists and conservationists realized they had discovered the last remaining living specimens of sea otter. They hustled to enact laws to protect the endangered, cute critter. All sea otters in the Western United states are decedents from this minuscule blossom of unique life.
Good animal husbandry saved these lovely critters from permanent extinction.
Before every expedition I take I always stop at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and go to the gift shop and buy at least a half dozen toy stuffed sea otters. I haul these toys into very interesting locations.