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Southern Sea Otters
Transcript of Southern Sea Otters
By: Gamar Alizani
Eat 25% of body weight a day
Only otters to give birth in the water
Role: to maintain the kelp forests at a normal level in the ocean and in protected bays
They eat the mussel beds so they don’t overpopulate the rocks
JOB: make space for others species in the area that also want those rocks.
Southern Sea Otter Distribution/Range Map in CA
Listed as threatened subspecies in 1977 under the Endangered Species Act
University of California, Santa Cruz
The sea otter is the largest member of the Mustelidae, or weasel family, skunk family and the only one which lives almost entirely in the water.
Reasons for being a Threatened Species
1. Infectious Disease
Enhydra lutris nereis
California: From Half Moon Bay in the north - near Santa Barbara in the south
4 feet (1.2 m)
FEMALES: up to 50 pounds (23 kg)
MALES: up to 70 pounds (32 kg)
sea urchins, abalone, crabs, clams, marine snails, marine worms, sea stars, sand dollars, squid, and octopus
Sometimes they use tools to open their food
Fur 2 layers: 650,00 hairs per sq. inch
Retractable claws and webbed hind feet
Burn calories 3x the rate humans do
Float on their backs
Use chest as a table to break open the food with rocks
Their coats have pockets under the flaps of each front leg
They use these flaps to stash prey in so they can hunt more during a dive
Mothers nurture their young while floating on their backs
Hold infants on their chest while teaching them to swim and hunt
Fur coats help them stay waterproof and safe from the cold
2. Contaminated Food: parasites (
) get into sea otter foods, such as clams and mussels through cat feces
3. Pollution /Toxic Chemicals/Oil Spills
4. Loosing prime-age otters
5. Hunted for their fur
Predators: humans, sharks,
bears, eagles (on pups),
and killer whales
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay Aquarium's Sea Otter Research and Conservation (SORAC) program studies and tries to save the threatened southern sea otter since 1984.
, a small group of perhaps 50 otters survived along Big Sur coast, now slowly expanded to nearly 2,800.
Job: to rescue, treat and release injured otters; raise and release stranded pups through surrogate program; provide care for sea otters that can't return to the wild, and conduct scientific research.
The Institute of Marine Sciences in UCSC, has the responsibility to encourage, develop, and support university endeavors in marine science research and education
More Conservation Groups
University of California, Davis
California Department of Fish & Wildlife | MWVCRC
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service