Sea otter

Applause and concern is swirling around a new feasibility assessment of sea otter reintroduction within 900 miles of vacant historical range in Oregon and northern California.

A federal study ordered by Congress concluded it would be feasible to reintroduce sea otters to the Oregon and northern California coasts. However, that finding doesn’t mean the super-cute predators will be relocated into their former ocean habitat anytime soon.

Sea otters were hunted to local extinction along the Pacific Northwest coast as part of the fur trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. The critters were successfully reintroduced to Washington, British Columbia and southeast Alaska 50 years ago. It didn’t go so well along the southern Oregon coast, where the otters released during the same time period mysteriously vanished after a few years.

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