THe endangered sea otter. explains why and how the sea otter is endangered

Essay by lastminutechic88High School, 10th gradeA, October 2004

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Why is the sea otter endangered?

The sea otter is the smallest marine mammal and the largest member of the weasel family. There are three sub-species of sea otters: Southern sea otters, Northern, and the Russian. This report explains why these three sub-species and sea otters as a whole have depleted in number in the past, and what it is that's causing them to still be in danger today.

In 1741, Russian explorers discovered sea otters along the Russian and Japanese coast. They quickly realized that their fur was twice as thick and warm as the fur seal's. It soon became very valuable in places such as Europe and China where it was known as "warm gold." The Russians were soon enslaving Alaskan natives called Aleuts to help with the slaughter. When the hunting was at its peak in San Francisco Bay, CA, 500-600 otters were being killed every week.

Before all of this took place there where about 150,000-300,000 sea otters in the world. Afterwards, they were rarely seen and were thought to be extinct when a small raft of 300 otters were discovered off the coast of Big Sur, CA. A few years later in 1989, about 2,800 sea otters were killed in the Exxon oil spill depleting their numbers even more.

The sea otter was one of the first animals to be protected under federal law. In 1911, the International Fur Seal Treaty was signed , this was the first bit of protection the sea otters had, and by that time there were only 1,000-2,000 sea otters left in the world. In 1972, sea otters became protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, they were officially protected as a "depleted" species. In 1973, it became protected under Endangered Species Act, which lists them as threatened. All...