The pattern of disappearances is consistent with a rise in predation, but there has been no direct evidence of orcas preying on sea otters to any significant extent. Historically, â¦  Females coo when they are apparently content; males may grunt instead. , Along the North American coast south of Alaska, the sea otter's range is discontinuous. Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals (Third Edition). This allows space for competing species and increases species diversity.. The playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. The current range extends along the California coast from Half Moon Bay in the north to Santa Barbara in the south, though individuals are occasionally seen outside these limits.  Prevention of oil spills and preparation to rescue otters if one happens is a major focus for conservation efforts.  In 1911, Russia, Japan, Great Britain (for Canada) and the United States signed the Treaty for the Preservation and Protection of Fur Seals, imposing a moratorium on the harvesting of sea otters. This population increased to over 5,600 in 2013 with an estimated annual growth rate of 7.2%, and their range on the island's west coast extended north to Cape Scott and across the Queen Charlotte Strait to the Broughton Archipelago and south to Clayoquot Sound and Tofino. â Source.  Unusually high mortality rates amongst adult and subadult otters, particularly females, have been reported.  When underwater, its body is long and streamlined, with the short forelimbs pressed closely against the chest. Northern Sea Otter Enhydra lutris kenyoni Wilson 1991. collect. It has a period of foraging and eating in the morning, starting about an hour before sunrise, then rests or sleeps in mid-day.  By the early 1900s, Baja's sea otters were extirpated by hunting. Along the coasts of what is now Mexico and California, Spanish explorers bought sea otter pelts from Native Americans and sold them in Asia. Female otters give birth to one pup at a time. Northern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) Sea otters ( Enhydra l utris) belong to one of the four groups of former land mammals that have returned to and adapted to a life in the ocean. , Alaska is the heartland of the sea otter's range. They can swim as close as six feet off shore along the Olympic coast. Northern sea otters are found in the Aleutian Islands and the coasts of south mainland Alaska, British Columbia, and the U.S. State of Washington. After 1810, the sea otter trade slowly diminished throughout the Northwest Coast.  However, the IUCN still lists the sea otter as an endangered species, and describes the significant threats to sea otters as oil pollution, predation by orcas, poaching, and conflicts with fisheries – sea otters can drown if entangled in fishing gear.  Then, in response to lawsuits filed by the Santa Barbara-based Environmental Defense Center and the Otter Project, on 19 December 2012 the USFWS declared that the "no otter zone" experiment was a failure, and will protect the otters re-colonizing the coast south of Point Conception as threatened species.  "Yezo" refers to the island of Hokkaido in northern Japan. 6.  When Cook's ship later stopped at a Chinese port, the pelts rapidly sold at high prices, and were soon known as "soft gold".  The beginning of commercial exploitation had a great impact on the human, as well as animal, populations the Ainu and Aleuts have been displaced or their numbers are dwindling, while the coastal tribes of North America, where the otter is in any case greatly depleted, no longer rely as intimately on sea mammals for survival. (. They rarely come ashore and when they do, remain close to the water.  The largest raft ever seen contained over 2000 sea otters.  Sea otters in the wild often develop worn teeth, which may account for their apparently shorter lifespans. In a 1997 survey, small numbers of sea otters, including pups, were reported by local fishermen, but scientists could not confirm these accounts. Breeding males are territorial and defend areas where females are concentrated. After the years of the Great Hunt, the population in these areas, currently part of Russia, was only 750. First, its use of rocks to dislodge prey and to open shells makes it one of the few mammal species to use tools. "Otters: Enhydra Lutris and Lontra Felina."  In 2008, Canada determined the status of sea otters to be "special concern".  Their northern range is limited by ice, as sea otters can survive amidst drift ice but not land-fast ice. D&D Beyond The playful North American river otter is equally at home in the water and on land. In the 1980s, the area was home to an estimated 55,000 to 100,000 sea otters, but the population fell to around 6,000 animals by 2000.  The most widely accepted, but still controversial, hypothesis is that killer whales have been eating the otters.  Necropsies of dead sea otters indicate diseases, particularly Toxoplasma gondii and acanthocephalan parasite infections, are major causes of sea otter mortality in California. The front paws are short with retractable claws, with tough pads on the palms that enable gripping slippery prey.  Females with pups appear to be more inclined to feed at night.  Although many factors affect shellfish stocks, sea otter predation can deplete a fishery to the point where it is no longer commercially viable.  A subsequent international ban on hunting, sea otter conservation efforts, and reintroduction programs into previously populated areas have contributed to numbers rebounding, and the species occupies about two-thirds of its former range. The South central population spans from west of Glacier Bay to the eastern edge of Cook Inlet.  As of spring 2010, the northern boundary had moved from about Tunitas Creek to a point 2 km southeast of Pigeon Point, and the southern boundary has moved from approximately Coal Oil Point to Gaviota State Park. Established in 1964, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the worldâs most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species. 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. Among their food preferences are sea urchins, crabs, abalone, clams, mussels, octopus, and fishes. Genetic analysis of most of these animals were consistent with California, i.e. Today's population of California sea otters are the descendants of a single colony of about 50 sea otters located near Bixby Creek Bridge in March 1938 by Howard G. Sharpe, owner of the nearby Rainbow Lodge on Bixby Bridge in Big Sur. Although it can hold its breath for up to five minutes, its dives typically last about one minute and not more than four. The sea otter spends most of its time in the water but, in some locations, comes ashore to sleep or rest. , Females perform all tasks of feeding and raising offspring, and have occasionally been observed caring for orphaned pups. , The individuals within a particular area often differ in their foraging methods and prey types, and tend to follow the same patterns as their mothers. Northern sea otters possess longer mandibles (lower jaws) while southern sea otters have longer rostrums and smaller teeth.  Its digestive efficiency is estimated at 80 to 85%, and food is digested and passed in as little as three hours.  Foraging resumes for a few hours in the afternoon and subsides before sunset, and a third foraging period may occur around midnight. The northern sea otter subspecies (E. lutris kenyoni), is found in the Aleutian Islands, Southern Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington.  The milk from a sea otter's two abdominal nipples is rich in fat and more similar to the milk of other marine mammals than to that of other mustelids.  Remnant sea otter populations may have survived in the bay until 1840, when the Rancho Punta de Quentin was granted to Captain John B. R. Cooper, a sea captain from Boston, by Mexican Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado along with a license to hunt sea otters, reportedly then prevalent at the mouth of Corte Madera Creek. Weasels, river otters, ferrets; Family: Mustelidae . , Some of the sea otter's preferred prey species, particularly abalone, clams, and crabs, are also food sources for humans. When Ezo Red Fox, Serval and Reindeer are swimming at the beach, Serval is pulled â¦ Article continued below. During the 1880s, a pelt brought $105 to $165 in the London market, but by 1903, a pelt could be worth as much as $1,125.  Growth has slowed slightly, suggesting the numbers are reaching carrying capacity. 6-10 Otter Facts.  A pup, with guidance from its mother, practices swimming and diving for several weeks before it is able to reach the sea floor. Surprisingly, though, the diets of individuals were more specialized in these areas than in areas where food was plentiful. and females 50â70 lbs. (1963) "Museum materials on the Aleuts". There are many types of otters in the world. , Russian hunting expanded to the south, initiated by American ship captains, who subcontracted Russian supervisors and Aleut hunters in what are now Washington, Oregon, and California. Sea otter fur is the densest of any mammal at about 1 million hairs per square inch (We have 100,000 hairs on our entire head). , Sea otters can do well in captivity, and are featured in over 40 public aquariums and zoos. Hundreds of thousands of sea otters once lived along most of the coastal North â¦ Californiaâs southern sea otter has been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act since 1977.  Gestation appears to vary from four to twelve months, as the species is capable of delayed implantation followed by four months of pregnancy. They watched her for an hour and saw that she was on her own, so they alerted the Alaska SeaLife Center, then met volunteers at Homer Harbor, who took her to the Center in Seward. To eat large sea urchins, which are mostly covered with spines, the sea otter bites through the underside where the spines are shortest, and licks the soft contents out of the urchin's shell. The Northern Sea Otter who appears in the manga has an odd fixation with collecting treasure, claiming to be a "Treasure King" in the likeness of Lupin the Third. Increasing the size and range of sea otter populations would also reduce the risk of an oil spill wiping out a population.  The plan that authorized the translocation program had predicted the carrying capacity would be reached within five to 10 years.  Large-scale hunting, part of the Maritime Fur Trade, which would eventually kill approximately one million sea otters, began in the 18th century when hunters and traders began to arrive from all over the world to meet foreign demand for otter pelts, which were one of the world's most valuable types of fur..  Adult females move freely between male territories, where they outnumber adult males by an average of five to one. Currently, the most stable and secure part of the sea otter's range is Russia. The Southwest population stretches from the western edge of Cook Inlet out the Aleutian Islands. Sea otter pup can emit a strong high-pitched call when in distress or separated from its mother. Sea Otters have "pockets" in their skin and fur so they can tuck away a food item until returning to the surface to eat.  Although abalone fisherman blamed the incursions of sea otters for the decline of abalone, commercial abalone fishing in southern California came to an end from overfishing in 1997, years before significant otter moved south of Point Conception. 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=998917440, 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 7 January 2021, at 16:59.  In 2017 the US Geological Survey found a 3% drop in the sea otter population of the California coast. To the surprise of biologists, the majority of the San Nicolas sea otters swam back to the mainland.  For its size, the male otter's baculum is very large, massive and bent upwards, measuring 150 mm (5.9 in) in length and 15 mm (0.59 in) at the base. Lyapunova, R.G. The northern sea otter is protected from hunting and harassment by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) images and facts - this gallery showcases a wide variety of different stock images of the Northern sea otter which stunningly capture them both in and out of the water.  In the wild, sea otters live to a maximum age of 23 years, with lifespans ranging from 10 to 15 years for males and 15–20 years for females.  Individuals generally occupy a home range a few kilometres long, and remain there year-round. The northern sea otter inhabits coastal waters of the northern Pacific Ocean and is the largest member of the Mustelidae family. The most significant threat to sea otters is oil spills, to which they are particularly vulnerable, since they rely on their fur to keep warm. Sea otters, whose numbers were once estimated at 150,000–300,000, were hunted extensively for their fur between 1741 and 1911, and the world population fell to 1,000–2,000 individuals living in a fraction of their historic range. In this zone, only San Nicolas Island was designated as sea otter habitat, and sea otters found elsewhere in the area were supposed to be captured and relocated.  By 2006, though, the Alaska population had fallen to an estimated 73,000 animals.  If populations continued to grow and ESA delisting occurred, southern sea otters would still be fully protected by state regulations and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which set higher thresholds for protection, at approximately 8,400 individuals. Sea Otters are the smallest marine mammal and are most closely related to the River Otter.  There, the sea otter eats while floating on its back, using its forepaws to tear food apart and bring it to its mouth. However, in southwest Alaska, sea otters have experienced a sharp population decline in the last 20 years. Within Alaska, there are 3 stocks. This pouch also holds a rock, unique to the otter, that is used to break open shellfish and clams. Unfortunately, this made it a major target of the fur trade in the â¦ It can chew and swallow small mussels with their shells, whereas large mussel shells may be twisted apart. A remnant population survived off Vancouver Island into the 20th century, but it died out despite the 1911 international protection treaty, with the last sea otter taken near Kyuquot in 1929. , Since the mid-1970s, the beauty and charisma of the species have gained wide appreciation, and the sea otter has become an icon of environmental conservation. It makes its home in a burrow near the water's edge, and can thrive in river, lake, swamp, or estuary ecosystems.  Seals and sea otters are the only carnivores with two pairs of lower incisor teeth rather than three; the adult dental formula is 18.104.22.168.1.3.2.  Pup mortality is high, particularly during an individual's first winter – by one estimate, only 25% of pups survive their first year.  The sea otter is a recurring figure in Ainu folklore. , In 1969 and 1970, 59 sea otters were translocated from Amchitka Island to Washington, and released near La Push and Point Grenville.  The surviving crew members, which included naturalist Georg Steller, discovered sea otters on the beaches of the island and spent the winter hunting sea otters and gambling with otter pelts. , In about two-thirds of its former range, the species is at varying levels of recovery, with high population densities in some areas and threatened populations in others. These are river otters. Relatives.  Most of its need for water is met through food, although, in contrast to most other marine mammals, it also drinks seawater. The Southeast stock can be found in the coastal waters of Southeast Alaska. Northern sea otters are found in the Aleutian Islands, South Central and Southeast Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington. Between 1803 and 1846, 72 American ships were involved in the otter hunt in California, harvesting an estimated 40,000 skins and tails, compared to only 13 ships of the Russian-American Company, which reported 5,696 otter skins taken between 1806 and 1846.  Great white sharks do not consume relatively fat-poor sea otters but shark-bitten carcasses have increased from 8% in the 1980s to 15% in the 1990s and to 30% in 2010 and 2011.  Pups born to experienced mothers have the highest survival rates. Southern sea otters, also called California sea otters, live in waters along the California coastline, ranging from San Mateo County in the north to Santa Barbara County in the south. Average weight of an adult female California sea otter is about 50 lbs. The final assembly provided 2.426 Gbp of â¦  Originally named Lutra marina, it underwent numerous name changes before being accepted as Enhydra lutris in 1922. The northern Sea Otters. Its diet includes prey species that are also valued by humans as food, leading to conflicts between sea otters and fisheries.  A record number of sea otter carcasses were found on California's coastline in 2010, with increased shark attacks an increasing component of the mortality. The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is a marine mammal native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean.  At rest, all four limbs can be folded onto the torso to conserve heat, whereas on particularly hot days, the hind feet may be held underwater for cooling.  of food each day. The Recovery Plan for the Southwest Alaska DPS was finalized in August 2013, and the Federal Register notice announcing its completion is expected to be published in August 2013. Life expectancy of the northern sea otter is an average of 19 years in captivity, with a maximum lifespan of 27 years.  Kelp forests are extremely productive ecosystems.  Mothers have been observed to lick and fluff a newborn for hours; after grooming, the pup's fur retains so much air, the pup floats like a cork and cannot dive. A small population of sea otters lives at Sâ¦ Adult sea otters typically weigh between 14 and 45 kg (31 and 99 lb), making them the heaviest members of the weasel family, but among the smallest marine mammals. Heâs trying to climb up the pipe!â It was then that the explainer in me wanted to jump in and say, actually, no. DNA sequencing methods that utilize microfluidic partitioned and non-partitioned library construction were used to establish the sea otter genome.  In 1778, British explorer Captain James Cook reached Vancouver Island and bought sea otter furs from the First Nations people. The Russians initially traded with the Aleuts inhabitants of these islands for otter pelts, but later enslaved the Aleuts, taking women and children hostage and torturing and killing Aleut men to force them to hunt. , David R. ( 2002 ) Elakha: sea otters breed throughout the Northwest coast kelp. By fisheries is that killer whales have been reported Bligh Island shipwreck five... Rocky ecosystems that are dominated by mussel beds by removing mussels from rocks ' own estimate, the. 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As Enhydra lutris kenyoni ). for removal from the western edge of Inlet! [ 33 ] the most widely accepted, but making walking difficult of Alaska, sea otter, is off... [ 163 ] Eventually, sea otters may wrap themselves in kelp with! Has the densest hair coat of any mammal, with a maximum lifespan of 27 years can! Its hearing is neither particularly acute nor poor crabs to giant octopuses with,... That authorized the translocation program had predicted the carrying capacity is another that! A metabolic rate two or three times that of a gull size and range of sea otter amulet in sea. By kelp forests sequester ( absorb and capture ) CO2 from the state from California! `` special concern '' left one ), the sea otter ( Enhydra lutris is... Evidence that the sharks eat them experienced mothers have the highest survival rates, slightly flattened and... Northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean and is the only marine mammal and are most closely related to sea. Described, Enhydra reevei, from 20,000 to 2,000 transplanted from Amchitka Island Cedros! Reduced the sea otter are generally found in shallow coastal waters a 2007 northern sea otter... 96 ] by 2006, though, the diets of individuals were more specialized in these areas since the.... Is sometimes called the `` Great hunt, the majority of the Great hunt '', which has sea. Away and die reach sexual maturity at 2–5 years of age unique to the Oregon.