Marta the River Otter – the adorable fursuit mascot of King County, Washington.
by Patch O'Furr
This otter does public service in a proper fursuit, commissioned by local government. (Tip: Zeigler Jaguar.)
King County has two million people in the region around Seattle. Their Department of Natural Resources and Parks has a new mascot who’s a uniquely Furry example of public funding for art and education.
On Twitter, Chrissy B asked who built the suit. They answered: “Beetlecat Originals helped create Marta for river safety public outreach.”
I wondered how this came to be? Why get such lavish custom art? Since their Parks and Recreation Division covers 26,000 acres of land, hundreds of miles of trails, and a “world-class aquatic center”, it must be part of some serious public use and tourist dollars.
Meet Marta, the river otter, our newest advocate for river safety: https://t.co/zcQ3FfFk1l via @KCDNRP— King County, WA (@KingCountyWA) May 31, 2016
Marta was most retweeted topic of the month for their county services account with 50,000 followers. That could be a follower in 10% of households in their county – people in Washington must love their parks. And now they’re getting zapped with Furry magic.
Marta has her own blog. It mentions that this fursuiter doesn’t break the magic by speaking, she dances to an original song, and she shows off lifejacket fashion to help teach drowning prevention. Besides adorable marketing, that must be an important reason to spend taxes on a mascot. Saving lives saves a lot of bucks.
I don’t know of many tax-funded Furry-related activities – do you? Canada gave $75,000 to furry social research by the IARP, but in the USA we just have the NSA spying on Second Life gamers and their “Cryptokids” cartoon mascots made to get kids into being spies. (More: “NSA To Recruit Children, Furries.”)
But I’m sure there’s nothing fishy about Marta except her lunch.
Speaking of Marta’s cost, in 2015 I compared furry art and high-end professional mascot building in my series about crossover between fursuiting and pro sports. The amateur/hobby stuff is several times cheaper. And doesn’t it look better? With furries you get devotion to craft and bang for the buck.
Nice job, Beetlecat! Hopefully work like this opens doors for more and better commissions. Maybe those talents will soon be called to patriotic duty for building a presidential fursona.
Obama Commissions Fursuit So He Can Go Places Without Secret Service Hanging Off His Ass— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) October 22, 2015
[…] There’s also a ready market for fursuiting skills outside of the fandom. “As fursuits have gotten higher and higher quality, and fursuit makers have made a name for themselves, they’ve been approached by sports teams to make their mascots as well,” said Jurann. That seems to be true of municipal agencies and other organizations as well. […]