Threatened: The Controversial Struggle of the Southern Sea Otter

After being brought back from the brink of extinction, sea otters are once again in peril. An unprecedented number of sea otter mortalities have occurred along the California coast in the last three years.   Like crime scene detectives, a team of scientists are anxiously searching for the causes of the mysterious deaths.

But not everyone wants to support a thriving Sea otter population. Otters are at the center of a bitter controversy regarding the Fish & Wildlife Services recent decision to eliminate their “No Otter Zone” from Southern California waters. For 25 years, this imaginary line in the ocean was designed to protect the interests of the commercial shellfish industry and its removal has angered fisherman.

The plight of sea otters has far reaching implications that everyone should be concerned about. If otters are struggling, it’s an indication of ecological problems that have direct impacts on humans as well. For a fragile species threatened by pollution, infectious diseases, starvation, and competition with fishermen, this is a crucial time for the Southern Sea otter, as they struggle for survival.

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