Do you know? Toba Aquarium in Japan is a sacred place to sea otters

Sea Otter. I’m sure everyone knows about it. It breaks the shell on its stomach, sometimes it is comical, charming but it is always a cute animal.
Toba Aquarium, a famous sightseeing spot in Mie prefecture, has a deep connection with such sea otter. Today let me introduce about Toba aquarium which is a suitable place for sea otter that is called “sacred place of sea otter”.

Sea otters are facing declining birthrate and aging population. 

Do you know how many sea otters are left in the aquarium in Japan?
Actually, there are only 8 left.
It is a sad case that in the past few years, the number of aquarium and zoo where you can see sea otters in Japan is gradually decreasing.

One of the sea otter who living in Tobu Aquarium,  Llyods, sadly passed away suddenly.
The sea otter also has a declined birth rate and aging population, just like a human. Breeding seems like not going well and thus, aged sea otters are on the rise.

Among 8 of them, only May is still at Toba Aquarium.
Toba Aquarium is a place which caused sea otter boom to happen in Japan in the 1980s where as many as 122 of sea otters lived at this aquarium.

The sea otter boom which took off from Toba Aquarium in Japan and its remnants

There is a sea otter with camera in front of the mural painting for memorial photograph of Toba Aquarium.

Same like this sea otter object, there are many sea otter decorated around Toba Aquarium, holding various item such as ice cream and sign board.

In 1983, four sea otter from Alaska came to Toba Aquarium.

Now everyone knows, but at that time it seems that only a few people understood what ‘sea otter’ is.

Floating on the water buoyantly, turning around and grooming its fur. Sea otters have grabbed the heart of many people who see them for the first time and a lot of people went to Toba just for sea otters. Nearly 2 million people visited the town annually.

But then that was only 35 years ago. It will be very lonely if you think that sea otters disappear from the aquarium and everyone forgot about it again.

In addition to the telephone booth which became the camera stand, in the vicinity of the Toba Aquarium, there are sea otters on the posts or at the foot when we look down while walking.

You can meet a lot of sea otters inside and outside of Toba Aquarium.

How many can you find?

If you go to Toba, it might be a good idea to enjoy searching for sea otters.

Cute and entertaining, May

Right now, the sea otters who live in Toba Aquarium are May. Her partner, Lloyds, past away on October 31, 2018. It is easier to distinguish by the fur color; a thin gray that looks like the silver color is the female May. While a black sea otter that stands out for its dignity is the male Lloyds . They were the only the sea otters which easy to identify by the color of the hair. A few years ago, since Llyods return to Toba Aquarium from Sunshine Aquarium in Tokyo, it was a partner that lives together in the same aquarium.

On a profile attached to the aquarium, it was written that May is "small body, always full of energy and is a tomboy that loves mischief”, while Lloyds was “the biggest and the darkest body, and was a naughty glutton that loves mischief”. Whichever it is, they ‘love mischief’ isn’t it (laugh)

Swimming, grooming, sometimes get out from the water and sleep soundly. This two showed a variety of facial expression, but when it’s time for bait, you will be fascinated by its entertainment. Such as the ‘squid jump’, they will make a big jump to get the squid which is sticking to the glass of the aquarium. They played a high-speed touch of “Pat-a-cake” game with aquarium keeper. Above all, it is cute and nice to have the gesture “please” by hand when they want to get the bait. I guess a lot of people are fascinated by them. You can find a lot of May`s performance even in SNS and others. If you are interested to watch, please come to Tobu Aquarium to watch directly.


Originated from Aomi city, Aichi prefecture. On a regular basis, involved in 3 trades at the same time; copywriter, town planner, and lecturer. Lifework is to transmit the beauty of sea otters. Love Toba Aquarium. Special genre: town planner, work, learn and sea otter.


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