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Study: Sea otters are doing more than you are to fight climate change

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The world is in crisis, and greenhouse gases are to blame. Arctic ice is disappearing! Street lamps are melting! And entire island nations are being swallowed by the sea. While Captain Planet can't save us from catastrophe, there may be a creature that can: the super adorable otter. You read that right — the sea otter population is on the rise, and that means good things for the fight against global warming.

According to a study published in the journal "Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment," kelp beds with a healthy otter population absorb 12 times as much carbon dioxide as beds without otters present. This is because otters love eating sea urchins, small spined herbivorous animals that can wreak havoc on an environment if left unchecked.

The scientists went on to further measure the otters' impact, and found that the animals remove as much as $408 million worth of carbon dioxide from the air. The otters also reduce ocean acidification, which is caused by the dissolving of carbon dioxide in water. It just goes to show that behind all those silly, adorable YouTube videos of baby sea otters lies a group of Earth-saving green machines. Thanks for all your hard work, sea otters!

[Image credit: A pair of otters via Shutterstock]
[via Fast Company]

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Tecca

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