Sea Otters

Sea Otters are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of endangered species.  In brief,  during the 1700 through the early 1900s sea otters were hunted to the brink of extinction.  By 1911 one estimate there were only 2000 sea otters left:

Only a few populations were left: The population recovered from 11 remnant subpopulations located in Russia (Bering Island, Kamchatka Peninsula, and Kuril Islands) and in the United States (in Alaska (Aleutian Islands, Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak archipelago, and Prince William Sound) and California). – IUCN redlist report

Gradually they started to make a comeback until 1996 when populations started to decline again with some populations losing as much as 50-90% of their populations. Currently their overall population is in decline.

A raft of otters in Prince William Sound 2014

These cute little creatures spend most of their life in the ocean.  They even sleep in the ocean.  I watched one float by me sleeping.  It’s eyes were closed and it was motionless.  It looked like a floating log.

At the visitor’s center we got to touch a sea otter pelt.  It was easy to understand why so many people coveted their fur.  Sea Otter’s have a hair density that ranges from 26,000 to 164,000 hairs per centimeter squared.  By comparison human hair density ranges between 200-400 hairs per centimeter squared.  Wow!

These creatures are just trying to live their life, and although there are efforts being made to save them world wide, their future remains uncertain.

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