Sea Otters Were Hunted To Near-Extinction. Can They Be Reintroduced?

"Hunted for centuries for their pelts, sea otters had dwindled to near-extinction by the 1910s, leaving a population of about 1,000 worldwide and only about 50 in California, in small pockets on the Central Coast and Southern California’s Channel Islands.

With conservation efforts, California’s sea otter population has grown to about 3,000, still limited to the Central Coast, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Now, an idea being considered by the federal government could see the otters, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, reintroduced to habitats in Northern California and Oregon.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently completed a feasibility study for reintroducing the otters to their former habitats, which would serve two purposes: restoration of the species and “restoration of ecosystem function.”"

Christian Martinez reports for the Los Angeles Times July 30, 2022.

Source: LA Times, 08/03/2022