This type of relationship between a predator (sea otter), herbivore (urchin), and plant (kelp) is known as a trophic cascade. Sea otters are commonly spotted on WWF’s Alaska tours. More than 80 percent of southern sea otters live within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Population. Southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis), also known as California sea otters, were listed as threatened in 1977 under the Endangered Species Act. Also in recent times, about 280 California sea otters were killed due to infectious disease and parasites. Because sea otters are greedy urchin-eaters, in so doing, they help in preserving the kelp forests as these forests are continually depleted by the grazing of sea urchins. According to the Otter Foundation, the California sea otter population declined from July 2008 to July 2011. The sea otter spends most of its time in the water but, in some locations, comes ashore to sleep or rest. Shockingly, sea otters are also one of the most endangered species in the Pacific, as they were nearly hunted to extinction in the early 1900’s. Enhydra lutris. McPhate, Mike. They were thought to be extinct from the California coast, until 50 otters were found near Big Sur. Under the same act, the harvesting of northern sea otters is now allowed only for the upkeep of the local people in Alaska and it is kept under strict observation by the U.S. As of 2006, there are an estimated 73,000 sea otters in Alaska. The sea otter can live its entire life without leaving the water. The Fur Trade Sea otters were hunte… Enhydra lutris was placed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973 and is now listed on CITES Appendix I and II. Sea otters play a vital role in the health and stability of the nearshore marine ecosystem as a keystone species – Tiger Running Speed, How Long Do White Tigers Live? Current status. Imagine a world without a picture of those cute, little guys to brighten up your day? This isn’t exclusive to sea otters alone — river otters are also known to maintain river ecosystems and a healthy fish population by eating diseased fish. They also have a reduced population size, which puts them in danger of becoming extinct. The sea otter spends most of its time in the water but, in some locations, comes ashore to sleep or rest. Sea otter numbers have declined in southwestern Alaska over the past 20 years. Why Are Sea Otters Endangered? When Do Raccoons Have Babies? They are semi-aquatic, aquatic as well as marine and have few natural predators. As a result, when the sea otter begins grooming itself through scrubbing away its coat, it may inhale oil which may, in turn, cause damage to its lungs or kidneys leading to death. & Burdin, A. Raccoon Range and Raccoon Habitat, A Raccoon Out During the Day? The sea otter is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List, pressured by pollution, pesticides, and conflicts with fishermen who kill them for eating their fish. vvaleedkhalid@gmail.com During the early 1800s, the Russian and American traders poached California sea Otters in great numbers. The Southern Sea Otter & Southwest Stock of Northern Sea Otters in Alaska are both listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. The sea otter is a well-known marine mammal with a historical range along the west coast of North America. During the late 1700s, the Americans and Europeans were the first people who migrated to the northern Pacific for hunting these animals for pelts. Threats Competition with commercial shellfish fisheries, entanglement in commercial fishing gear, oil spills, disease outbreaks, contaminants, subsistence harvests, killer whale predation. These forests are one of the most dynamic and richest marine ecosystems in the world, possessing high density of biomass and greater productivity. Currently, there are only 3,000 sea otters left in the wild, making them heavily endangered. ACTION TIMELINE. – Sea Otter Endangered, Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window). Now there are about 3,000 otters in California and sea otters are protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. They are one of the few animals known to use tools – they use small rocks to open shellfish. Where Do Raccoons Sleep? According to the U.S. Southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis), also known as California sea otters, have been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act since 1977. California in the US is the best place to find sea otters in the wild. email2ubaid@gmail.com, Co-author and co-founder of animalsanswers.com. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T7750A21939518.en. The New York Times, “Northern Sea Otter”. Where to see sea otters? They are at great risk of extinction due to many reasons such as fur trade, shark attacks, habitat degradation, oil spills ,fishing nets, disease and being viewed as competition. They are semi-aquatic, aquatic as well as marine and have few natural predators. Oils spills are perhaps the greatest threat facing sea otters today. The southwest Alaska sea otter population is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species and designated as depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Can otters use tools? Sea otters had have been listed as endangered … “California Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) Census Results, Spring 2017”. Sea otters have historically been hunted for their pelts. 10 Things You Can Do to Save Endangered Species, Support our work with a one time or recurring gift. Sadly, the sea otter is still classified as endangered by the IUCN, due to other threats such as pollution, oil spills and entanglement in fishing equipment. Are Mice Blind? When these otters were found wheezing and struggling with seizures on beaches in Homer, Alaska, researchers were surprised. Sea otters have a profound impact on the coastal habitats which is why they are rightly known as keystone species. The sea otter is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources as one of the endangered species within the marine ecosystem. – White Tiger Evolution, What Do African Elephants Eat? There is one species of Otter on the low risk list which is the Oriental Small Clawed Otter. Sea otters are a highly endangered marine mammal. Established in 1964, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species. They typically use … The U.S. 9. – Snow Leopard Lifespan, What Do Snow Leopards Eat? Besides, during 70s and 80s, a lot of California sea otters were drowned due to their entanglement in fishing gear like trammel and gill nets. Sea otters today are considered a species that is endangered. The otters play an important role in controlling sea urchin populations, which would otherwise damage the kelp forest ecosystem. Sea otters had have been listed as endangered … The animal suffers from hypothermia as a result of oil spills. The species is also protected under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, and has “fully protected” status under California state law. Otters are mammals that are extremely playful and sensitive. The southern sea otter was widely believed to be extinct due to the expansive fur trade of the 18th and 19th centuries, which reduced the global population, once 150,000 to 300,000, to roughly 2,000 — a number at which the species seemed unlikely to survive. They are at great risk of extinction due to many reasons such as fur trade, shark attacks, habitat degradation, oil spills ,fishing nets, disease and being viewed as competition. Read More: How Many Sea Otters are Left in the World? For one of the smallest marine mammals on Earth (yet the largest member of the weasel family), the sea otter has racked up quite a few superlatives: 10. The trade of sea otters was continued until the animals were virtually wiped out. As the thick fur of the sea otter is oiled, the animal could no longer keep itself warm enough since, unlike other marine mammals, it does not have any layer of blubber. Once containing more than half of the world’s sea otters, this population segment, which ranges from Kodiak Island through the western Aleutian Islands, has undergone an overall population decline of at least 55–67 percent since the mid-1980s. ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT PROFILE. The benefits that a heavy sea otter presence provides to seagrass, among others, is one of the many reasons they are deemed keystone species — that is, species that hold an ecosystem together. OCEANWALKERS Doroff, A. Join the Endangered Species Coalition Activist Network to receive emails with actions that you can take to protect endangered and threatened species. The trade was banned in 1910, with signing of the treaty between America, Japan, Russia and Great Britain. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the federal agency. In the United States Otters are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Sea Otter Facts California’s southern sea otter has been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act since 1977. Raccoons in Daylight, What Eats Arctic Foxes? Help protect endangered sea otters from extinction by learning more about this fascinating animal! The animalsanswers.com is a precise explanation of wild animals and how they adapt to their environment, for everyone, with all kinds of fascinating information presented in a readable format. Can They See In The Dark? A little over a year later, the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit arguing that the U.S. Populations in south-central and southeast Alaska continue to grow or have stabilized. Sea otters are a highly endangered marine mammal. Can Mice Jump? Sea otters are a keystone species and play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy ocean ecosystem. Currently the southern sea otter population is estimated at just above 3,000 animals. Sea otters are listed as an endangered species because they are vulnerable to oil spills from ships and coastal tanker traffic. Southern Sea Otter. But it may be drawing attention away from the value of other habitat that could truly help the endangered species in its recovery—estuaries. The Endangered Marine Sea Otter. Tinker, M. Tim, and Brian B. Hartfield. All sea otters are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and those in California and Southwest Alaska are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. Currently the population is estimated at just above 3,000 animals. Are Mice Dangerous? By the year 1840, almost all of the California sea otters were exterminated. Oil ruins the insulating property of an otter's fur, causing many oiled otters to die of hypothermia, while others die from ingesting the oil or inhaling petroleum fumes. It is monitored through a program known as Marking, Tagging and Reporting. India currently hosts three out of thirteen existing otter species, with the population rates of all three facing rapid decline due to poaching and loss of habitat. Appearance: Sea otters are the smallest marine mammal in North America, but one of the largest members of the weasel family. California Sea Otter. The complexity of trophic cascades can vary extensively from place to place, but this basic pattern is the foundation for understanding how sea otters fit into a healthy coastal environment. – Sumatran Tiger Diet & Eating Habits, How Fast Can a Tiger Run? 9. Can Mice Climb Stairs and Walls? By the year 1840, almost all of the California sea otters were exterminated. These animals are conserved through the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA) in the United States. The Endangered Species Coalition’s mission is to stop the human-caused extinction of our nation’s at-risk species, to protect and restore their habitats, and to guide these fragile populations along the road to recovery. Humans are the biggest threat to sea otter populations. But it may be drawing attention away from the value of other habitat that could truly help the endangered species in its recovery—estuaries. Almost 60,000 sea otters were killed by the Americans for the sake of getting fur during the three-year period (1804 – 1807) while another 50,000 furs were taken between 1808 and 1812. Sea otters face ongoing threats related to commercial fishing, offshore oil drilling and climate change, and are listed as an endangered species … They have the densest fur in the animal kingdom. The trade was banned in 1910, with signing of the treaty between America, Japan, Russia and Great Britain. Because their numbers are low and they are located in a rather small geographic area, the California otter population could be devastated by oil contamination. Moreover, the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) is responsible for the protection of sea otters in California and southwest Alaska. They include the Southern River Otter, Hairy Nosed Otter, Giant Otter, and the India Smooth Coated Otter. The picture of sea otters frolicking among kelp beds and rocky shoals has become an iconic image of the California coastline. In August 2005, the "southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment" of the sea otter was listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. 2015. RELATED ISSUES Oceans Golden State Biodiversity Initiative The Endangered Species Act. Hunted nearly to extinction by the fur trade, sea otters are endangered and currently exist in only a portion of their historic range. | Snow Leopard Diet, What Do Malayan Tigers Eat? Southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis), also known as California sea otters, were listed as threatened in 1977 under the Endangered Species Act. Defenders’ California, Northwest and Alaska programs have united to strengthen our sea otter programs through awareness and public engagement. – Complete Guide to African Elephant Diet, African Bush Elephant Habitat – Habitat Features & Characteristics, Where Do African Elephants Live? The greatest threat to the sea otter population is an oil spill. Coles, Jeremy. – White Tiger Lifespan, Where Do White Tigers Come From? The otters play an important role in controlling sea urchin populations, which would otherwise damage the kelp forest ecosystem. Why are Sea Otters Endangered? Sea … Do They Carry Diseases? Reduced range and population size, vulnerability to oil spills, and oil spill risk from coastal tanker traffic were the primary reasons for listing. The Sea Otter was hunted to near extinction in the 19th century. They are usually found in clean rivers, lakes and coastlines of Europe, parts of Asia and along the Pacific coast. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) listed the southern sea otter population as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1977 and adopted a recovery plan for the population 1982, which was updated in 2003. The Sea Otter was hunted to near extinction in the 19th century. By the time this treaty was signed, there were as few as 50 otters remaining (before that, there were 15,000 otters) off central California (Bug Sur). How Many Babies Do They Have? The sea otters in Canada are preserved through Species at Risk Act. The two states that took the lead in the trade of sea otters were Spain and Russia. The Endangered Marine Sea Otter. The picture of sea otters frolicking among kelp beds and rocky shoals has become an iconic image of the California coastline. Otters are mammals that are extremely playful and sensitive. Not all otters use tools, but sea otters use them all the time. (Enhydra lutris kenyoni). Reduced range and population size, vulnerability to oil spills, and oil spill risk from coastal tanker traffic were the primary reasons for listing. For one of the smallest marine mammals on Earth (yet the largest member of the weasel family), the sea otter has racked up quite a few superlatives: 10. In particular, they play a vital role in preserving the kelp forests. “California Today: The Plight of the Sea Otter”. “Conservation success for otters on the brink”. The sea otter can live its entire life without leaving the water. Prevention of oil spills is the best strategy, since rehabilitating oiled otters is quite difficult. The harvest of these otters is allowed to the native people only for personal uses, craftwork, trading or making clothes for themselves. Since the 1980s, most northern sea otter populations have continued to recover. – Malayan Tiger Diet & Eating Habits, What Do Sumatran Tigers Eat? The trade of sea otters was continued until the animals were virtually wiped out. For that reason, they were hunted extensively and their rich pelt was used in fur trade. Estimates suggest a California population of approximately 2700 individuals. But until 1972, these were multiplied to at least 1,000 otters. They were thought to be extinct from the California coast, until 50 otters were found near Big Sur. Where Do Raccoons Live? In every square inch of its fur, there are around 850,000 to one million hairs. They are usually found in clean rivers, lakes and coastlines of Europe, parts of Asia and along the Pacific coast. People actively hunted for the sea otters’ wool in the 18th century, which meant destructive influence for the species, and sea otters began to occur less frequently and less frequently in the natural habitat. – African Elephant Range & Habitat, http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T7750A21939518.en. Today the species is protected under the Endangered Species Act & Marine Mammal Protection Act. – Arctic Fox Predators, How Long Do Arctic Foxes Live? – Lifespan, How Long Do Snow Leopards Live? The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T7750A21939518. The Southern Sea Otter & Southwest Stock of Northern Sea Otters in Alaska are both listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. Sea otters live and play in the waters off the Pacific coast. The Basics. African clawless otter. NATURAL HISTORY. By the early 1900s, there were just about a dozen colonies of these otters. BBC. Several of the species though are listed as vulnerable and endangered. Marine Mammal Commission, Northern Sea Otter (SW AK popn.) Direct conflict with humans, through shootings, fishing gear entanglements and boat strikes, take a toll on sea otters, but oil spills, pollution, disease and loss of kelp pose major threats. Sea otters are commonly spotted on WWF’s Alaska tours. Today the species is protected under the Endangered Species Act & Marine Mammal Protection Act. The climate change may also unsettle the foraging habits of these animals leading to mortality. 2003 southern sea otter recovery plan 2000 petition to list southwest Alaska sea otter 1977 southern sea otter Endangered Species Act listing. 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