This is a very promising sign of the recovery of a species that was hunted to near extinction in the 19th century. The fact that a Sea Otter was spotted south of Santa Barbara’s Point Conception is a welcome sign to marine scientists that the species could slowly be on the road to recovery. The population of the Southern Sea Otter which roamed the Pacific Coast from the Oregon/Washington border all the way to Baja Mexico, was once thought to be around 16,000. The fur trade from the late 1700’s to the early 1900’s was responsible for the near extinction of Sea Otters coveted for their plush pelts.
Fortunately a small colony of about 50 Otters was discovered in 1938 in a cove near Big Sur. The survival of this small colony along with their listing as an endangered species in 1973 is the reason there are now thought to be nearly 2800 otters roaming the Northern California coastline from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara.
The current sighting in Huntington Harbor is the second one this year. There was another sighting in Huntington Harbor on May 20th. Scientists believe the sightings could become more frequent as the species begins to proliferate throughout the entire California Coastline into Mexico.
Proof once again that conservation and public awareness is the key to successfully maintaining the many and unique species of marine animals along our shores. To learn more http://www.seaotters.org