Fish

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Discipline:
Science
Subject:
Animals

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Fish

Sea Otter

Sea otters eat urchins, abalone, mussels, clams, crabs, snails and about 40 other marine species.Historically, sea otters numbered between several hundred thousand to more than a million. But due to the fur trade, worldwide numbers plummeted down to a total of 1,000-2,000 in the early 1900s. Today, there are estimated to be just over 106,000 worldwide, with just under 3,000 in California.

Conflict with humans, oil spills, and habitat degradtion are the main reasons the sea otter population had dropped so low. Direct conflict with humans, such as shootings and entrapment in fishing traps and nets pose a major threat to sea otter populations. Oil spills from offshore drilling or shipping are an immense threat to sea otter populations. When sea otters come into contact with oil, it causes their fur to mat, which prevents it from insulating their bodies,The toxicity of oil can also be harmful to sea otters, causing liver and kidney failure as well as severe damage to their lungs and eyes. Pollution on land runs off into the ocean, contaminating the sea otters’ habitat. This can jeopardize their food sources, as well as harm them directly.

Sea otters live in shallow coastal waters off the northern Pacific. Their historic range stretched from Japan, along the coast of Siberia and the Aleutian Chain and down the Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California coast to Baja California. Currently sea otters can be found in Canada, Russia, Japan, California and Washington, but the majority of all wild sea otters are found in Alaskan waters.Sea otters eat urchins, abalone, mussels, clams, crabs, snails and about 40 other marine species.

"Basic Facts about Sea Otters." Defenders of Wildlife. N.p., 19 Mar. 2012. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.Sea Otters in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. N.d. Coast National Marine Sanctuary.Sea Otters in Southeast AK. N.d. Alaska, n.p.Otter Spotting Locations. N.d. Canada.California Sea Otter Fund. 2006. California.

Problems

Citations

Environment

Description

Enhydra lutris

Solutions

In 2006, Defenders of Wildlife worked with California lawmakers to pass legislation that would establish the California Sea Otter Fund for sea otter research through a voluntary tax donation check-off box on state tax forms.


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