"Pacific Sea Otters' Failure to Thrive Confounds Wildlife Sleuths" ...

From the article:

"For the wildlife biologists, a clear explanation for the sea otters’ failure to thrive is proving just as elusive. Almost wiped out by fur traders, the species rebounded after an international ban on commercial otter hunting in 1911. But today, the otter population in California is just 2,700, in a mosaic of small, separate colonies off the coast, down from perhaps as many as 16,000 in the past.

Multiple factors are stalling the recovery. One popular view, supported by veterinary pathologists who study dead otters, primarily blames coastal pollution — in the form of parasites, bacteria, toxins and chemicals.

But Dr. Tinker and other biologists say that, at least in the areas where the sea otter population is highest, off Monterey and nearby Big Sur, the underlying problem is simply that the otters are running out of food" 

--A good exploration for problem-solvers here.  What are factors that lead to thriving--or not--for sea otters?  A multifaceted problem. 

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Replies to This Discussion

Sea otters are known for their fun-loving playfulness.  This may not be a scientific answer, but I think we could draw some parallels with the low priority we give this quality in modern life.  Could this be an urgent message from the sea otters for us not to forget the life-sustaining value of play, lighthearted fun, and community?  Not to mention the current crisis facing sea-life in general due to over-fishing and pollution.  Here's hoping we can help before it's too late!

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