Posted by: Sandy Steinman | August 17, 2010

What’s Happening to the Sea Otters?

Population decline last two years

Historically, sea otters have gone from over 1,000,000 to near extinction due to being hunted for their pelts.  The population had been increasing due to their protected status until two years ago.  The reason for the recent population decline is unclear.  Possible

Sea Otter by Mike Baird

causes include pollution contaminating  food sources, heavy storms this past winter, shark attacks and decreased kelp.  Scientists are currently researching the population decrease but their funding may be cut.  For more information read  the UPI article Sea otter population declines in Calif. or the S.F. Chronicle article: Sea Otters Taking a Turn for the Worse.

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  1. It’s scary to think about the enormity of what could happen to such major ecosystems due to climate change. The UPI article called otters a canary in a coal mine, and it’s easy to forget that canaries were used to warn human beings that they too were about to die.


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