They’re pretty much the cutest creatures you can imagine, and there are only 3,500 of them. But the federal fisheries department has told aboriginals on the West Coast of Vancouver Island they can start killing sea otters for “ceremonial” purposes. Sea otters were all but exterminated during the fur trade, and have returned to less than a third of the territory in B.C. they once occupied. The initial quota is tiny—one per cent of the population. Still, this is a red flag to the animal rights crowd, who say it’s about time the natives left behind “barbaric” practices of their ancestors. They no longer take slaves, one activist argues, so why do they need otter pelts.