Can They See In The Dark? 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. 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. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T7750A21939518.en. 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). Oils spills are perhaps the greatest threat facing sea otters today. 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. The sea otter spends most of its time in the water but, in some locations, comes ashore to sleep or rest. As of 2006, there are an estimated 73,000 sea otters in Alaska. 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 Sea Otter was hunted to near extinction in the 19th century. The southwest Alaska sea otter population is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species and designated as depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The trade of sea otters was continued until the animals were virtually wiped out. Raccoon Range and Raccoon Habitat, A Raccoon Out During the Day? In August 2005, the "southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment" of the sea otter was listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. 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. They include the Southern River Otter, Hairy Nosed Otter, Giant Otter, and the India Smooth Coated Otter. 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. 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. The Basics. “California Today: The Plight of the Sea Otter”. Despite that, the sea otter trade still continues on the black market even today. They have the densest fur in the animal kingdom. Appearance: Sea otters are the smallest marine mammal in North America, but one of the largest members of the weasel family. Reduced range and population size, vulnerability to oil spills, and oil spill risk from coastal tanker traffic were the primary reasons for listing. The otters play an important role in controlling sea urchin populations, which would otherwise damage the kelp forest ecosystem. 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. By the year 1840, almost all of the California sea otters were exterminated. Imagine a world without a picture of those cute, little guys to brighten up your day? 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 had have been listed as endangered … – White Tiger Evolution, What Do African Elephants Eat? Sea otters face ongoing threats related to commercial fishing, offshore oil drilling and climate change, and are listed as an endangered species … The trade was banned in 1910, with signing of the treaty between America, Japan, Russia and Great Britain. 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. For that reason, they were hunted extensively and their rich pelt was used in fur trade. Sea otters are a keystone species and play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy ocean ecosystem. In every square inch of its fur, there are around 850,000 to one million hairs. The climate change may also unsettle the foraging habits of these animals leading to mortality. 2015. They are one of the few animals known to use tools – they use small rocks to open shellfish. They were thought to be extinct from the California coast, until 50 otters were found near Big Sur. 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. Currently, there are only 3,000 sea otters left in the wild, making them heavily endangered. Prevention of oil spills is the best strategy, since rehabilitating oiled otters is quite difficult. 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. – Lifespan, How Long Do Snow Leopards Live? Enhydra lutris. Southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis), also known as California sea otters, were listed as threatened in 1977 under the Endangered Species Act. The sea otter spends most of its time in the water but, in some locations, comes ashore to sleep or rest. In particular, they play a vital role in preserving the kelp forests. The picture of sea otters frolicking among kelp beds and rocky shoals has become an iconic image of the California coastline. – Malayan Tiger Diet & Eating Habits, What Do Sumatran Tigers Eat? They are semi-aquatic, aquatic as well as marine and have few natural predators. 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. Currently the population is estimated at just above 3,000 animals. 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. RELATED ISSUES Oceans Golden State Biodiversity Initiative The Endangered Species Act. Humans are the biggest threat to sea otter populations. McPhate, Mike. They are usually found in clean rivers, lakes and coastlines of Europe, parts of Asia and along the Pacific coast. – Tiger Running Speed, How Long Do White Tigers Live? During the late 1700s, the Americans and Europeans were the first people who migrated to the northern Pacific for hunting these animals for pelts. The picture of sea otters frolicking among kelp beds and rocky shoals has become an iconic image of the California coastline. Moreover, the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) is responsible for the protection of sea otters in California and southwest Alaska. 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. Join the Endangered Species Coalition Activist Network to receive emails with actions that you can take to protect endangered and threatened species. The Endangered Marine Sea Otter. ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT PROFILE. Marine Mammal Commission, Northern Sea Otter (SW AK popn.) – Sumatran Tiger Diet & Eating Habits, How Fast Can a Tiger Run? 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. But it may be drawing attention away from the value of other habitat that could truly help the endangered species in its recovery—estuaries. Sea otters have a profound impact on the coastal habitats which is why they are rightly known as keystone species. email2ubaid@gmail.com, Co-author and co-founder of animalsanswers.com. The Southern Sea Otter & Southwest Stock of Northern Sea Otters in Alaska are both listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. Are Mice Blind? 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. Sea otters play a vital role in the health and stability of the nearshore marine ecosystem as a keystone species 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. – White Tiger Lifespan, Where Do White Tigers Come From? 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. The sea otter can live its entire life without leaving the water. The sea otter is a well-known marine mammal with a historical range along the west coast of North America. 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. vvaleedkhalid@gmail.com – Snow Leopard Lifespan, What Do Snow Leopards Eat? Sea otter numbers have declined in southwestern Alaska over the past 20 years. But it may be drawing attention away from the value of other habitat that could truly help the endangered species in its recovery—estuaries. There is one species of Otter on the low risk list which is the Oriental Small Clawed Otter. Reduced range and population size, vulnerability to oil spills, and oil spill risk from coastal tanker traffic were the primary reasons for listing. Southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis), also known as California sea otters, were listed as threatened in 1977 under the Endangered Species Act. Sea otters are listed as an endangered species because they are vulnerable to oil spills from ships and coastal tanker traffic. Coles, Jeremy. More than 80 percent of southern sea otters live within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The trade of sea otters was continued until the animals were virtually wiped out. Are Mice Dangerous? The animal suffers from hypothermia as a result of oil spills. The greatest threat to the sea otter population is an oil spill. The New York Times, “Northern Sea Otter”. Currently the southern sea otter population is estimated at just above 3,000 animals. The otters play an important role in controlling sea urchin populations, which would otherwise damage the kelp forest ecosystem. They are semi-aquatic, aquatic as well as marine and have few natural predators. Now there are about 3,000 otters in California and sea otters are protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. 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. The sea otters in Canada are preserved through Species at Risk Act. | Snow Leopard Diet, What Do Malayan Tigers Eat? The Southern Sea Otter & Southwest Stock of Northern Sea Otters in Alaska are both listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. By the early 1900s, there were just about a dozen colonies of these otters. Do They Carry Diseases? It is monitored through a program known as Marking, Tagging and Reporting. Where Do Raccoons Live? They are usually found in clean rivers, lakes and coastlines of Europe, parts of Asia and along the Pacific coast. Where Do Raccoons Go During the Day? Read More: How Many Sea Otters are Left in the World? Sea otters had have been listed as endangered … Today the species is protected under the Endangered Species Act & Marine Mammal Protection Act. 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. During the early 1800s, the Russian and American traders poached California sea Otters in great numbers. By the year 1840, almost all of the California sea otters were exterminated. The sea otter can live its entire life without leaving the water. These animals are conserved through the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA) in the United States. When these otters were found wheezing and struggling with seizures on beaches in Homer, Alaska, researchers were surprised. According to the Otter Foundation, the California sea otter population declined from July 2008 to July 2011. Sea otters are a highly endangered marine mammal. Sea otters are commonly spotted on WWF’s Alaska tours. How Many Babies Do They Have? This type of relationship between a predator (sea otter), herbivore (urchin), and plant (kelp) is known as a trophic cascade. The trade was banned in 1910, with signing of the treaty between America, Japan, Russia and Great Britain. Population. According to the U.S. Southern Sea Otter. Can Mice Climb Stairs and Walls? Also in recent times, about 280 California sea otters were killed due to infectious disease and parasites. The Sea Otter was hunted to near extinction in the 19th century. Sea Otter Facts California’s southern sea otter has been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act since 1977. These forests are one of the most dynamic and richest marine ecosystems in the world, possessing high density of biomass and greater productivity. Alaska Department of Fish and Game, If you have any suggestion or comment or anything you want to share at all, feel free to reach out by emailing at: Where Do Raccoons Sleep? 9. Several of the species though are listed as vulnerable and endangered. – Arctic Fox Predators, How Long Do Arctic Foxes Live? Tinker, M. Tim, and Brian B. Hartfield. – African Elephant Range & Habitat, http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-2.RLTS.T7750A21939518.en. Enhydra lutris was placed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973 and is now listed on CITES Appendix I and II. 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. (Enhydra lutris kenyoni). Raccoons in Daylight, What Eats Arctic Foxes? 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. Sea otters are a highly endangered marine mammal. Current status. 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. Well-Known marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 ( MMPA ) in 1973 and is now listed CITES... Or recurring gift appearance: sea otters are left in the water spills. – Habitat Features & Characteristics, Where Do African Elephants Eat fish and Wildlife Service, sea from. 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