The health of the kelp forest ecosystem is significant in nurturing populations of fish, including commercially important fish species.  Females are smaller, weighing 14 to 33 kg (31 to 73 lb) and measuring 1.0 to 1.4 m (3 ft 3 in to 4 ft 7 in) in length. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes that Southern Sea Otter Translocation Program be Terminated", "Service Proposes to End Southern Sea Otter Translocation Program", "Rare sighting of sea otter off Laguna Beach", "U.S. will let otters roam along Southern California coastline", "California's Sea Otter Numbers Continue Slow Climb", "California Sea Otter Numbers Drop Again", "Spring 2010 Mainland California Sea Otter Survey Results", "Another deadly challenge for the sea otter", "Evidence for a Novel Marine Harmful Algal Bloom: Cyanotoxin (Microcystin) Transfer from Land to Sea Otters", Spring 2014 California Sea Otter Census Results, "Otters vs. There was some contraction from the northern (now Pigeon Point) and southern limits of the sea otter's range during the end of this period, circumstantially related to an increase in lethal shark bites, raising concerns that the population had reached a plateau.  By 1817, sea otters in the area were practically eliminated and the Russians sought permission from the Spanish and the Mexican governments to hunt further and further south of San Francisco. It is not to be confused with the marine otter, a rare otter species native to the southern west coast of South America.  The fur consists of long, waterproof guard hairs and short underfur; the guard hairs keep the dense underfur layer dry.  The Exxon Valdez oil spill of 24 March 1989 killed thousands of sea otters in Prince William Sound, and as of 2006, the lingering oil in the area continues to affect the population. The second, of unknown size off the Islas San Benitos, Mexico, was extinct by the 1920s. (, CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (. Sea otter moms invest so much energy in raising their pups that they risk their own survival, a new study suggests. Sea otters today often live adjacent to areas of high human occupancy. The Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989 in Prince William Sound and adjacent waters, Alaska, killed hundreds of sea otters and provided extensive opportunities for detailed insights into pathologies resulting from oiling of animals.  Similarly, forced copulation by sea otters involving animals other than Pacific harbor seals has occasionally been reported. “For the conservation of the sea otter, this would be huge.” ... energy, logging, parks, endangered species, toxics and climate change.  Kelp forests are extremely productive ecosystems. , In the late 1980s, the USFWS relocated about 140 southern sea otters to San Nicolas Island in southern California, in the hope of establishing a reserve population should the mainland be struck by an oil spill.  The fur is thick year-round, as it is shed and replaced gradually rather than in a distinct molting season.  Shellfish declines have also occurred in many parts of the North American Pacific coast that do not have sea otters, and conservationists sometimes note the existence of large concentrations of shellfish on the coast is a recent development resulting from the fur trade's near-extirpation of the sea otter. It preys mostly on marine invertebrates such as sea urchins, various molluscs and crustaceans, and some species of fish. In 1799, Emperor Paul I consolidated the rival fur-hunting companies into the Russian-American Company, granting it an imperial charter and protection, and a monopoly over trade rights and territorial acquisition.  Several captive individuals have lived past 20 years, and a female at the Seattle Aquarium died at the age of 28 years.  The largest raft ever seen contained over 2000 sea otters. In some areas, massive declines in shellfish harvests have been blamed on the sea otter, and intense public debate has taken place over how to manage the competition between sea otters and humans for seafood. They keep the population of certain benthic (sea floor) herbivores, particularly sea urchins, in check. Sea otters may help mitigate effects of climate change by their cascading trophic influence, Reintroduction of sea otters to British Columbia has led to a dramatic improvement in the health of coastal ecosystems, and similar changes have been observed as sea otter populations recovered in the Aleutian and Commander Islands and the Big Sur coast of California However, some kelp forest ecosystems in California have also thrived without sea otters, with sea urchin populations apparently controlled by other factors. Climate Change – KQED/QUEST (2014)", "Aquatic Species at Risk – Species Profile – Sea Otter", "Parasite Shed in Cat Feces Kills Sea Otters – California Sea Grant", "Aleutian Sea Otter population falls 70% in eight years", National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "National Marine Sanctuaries Regulations", "Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary History", "Historical Ecology of Late Holocene Sea Otters (, "Seattle Aquarium's Youngest Sea Otter Lootas Becomes a Mom", "Vancouver Aquarium's oldest sea otter, Nyac, passes", De Bestiis Marinis, or, The Beasts of the Sea (1751), Precipice of Survival: The Southern Sea Otter, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sea_otter&oldid=991218215, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia indefinitely move-protected pages, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2020, Articles containing potentially dated statements from January 2015, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 28 November 2020, at 22:40. , Although each adult and independent juvenile forages alone, sea otters tend to rest together in single-sex groups called rafts. Since 2015, Sea Otter Savvy has had a team of volunteer community scientists collecting data at seven different sites along the … Lactation is a critical and energetically expensive period of reproduction, especially for female sea otters (Enhydra lutris) and their pups, both of which have resting metabolic rates that are ca.  Its hearing is neither particularly acute nor poor. The digits cannot act individually as they are connected by soft tissue webbing. They are the only marine mammal to have the ability to hold and manipulate their young for grooming.  Male sea otters usually weigh 22 to 45 kg (49 to 99 lb) and are 1.2 to 1.5 m (3 ft 11 in to 4 ft 11 in) in length, though specimens up to 54 kg (119 lb) have been recorded. In northern latitudes, sea otters may haul-out more frequently during the winter as a means to conserve heat.  In adults, the head, throat, and chest are lighter in color than the rest of the body. , In the Aleutian Islands, a massive and unexpected disappearance of sea otters has occurred in recent decades. , The sea otter displays numerous adaptations to its marine environment. Its relatively large kidneys enable it to derive fresh water from sea water and excrete concentrated urine. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. or its licensors or contributors. 2). Kelp forests sequester (absorb and capture) CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Increasing the size and range of sea otter populations would also reduce the risk of an oil spill wiping out a population.
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