29 February 2012 Record Number of Dead Sea Otters Found in 2011 Posted by: Brian Bovard | Leave a comment | Share: A recent release from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) shows that 335 sea otters were found dead last year along California’s coasts. This news comes as a blow to sea otter recovery which has seen a decline in the 3-year population average over the last two years. A trend that is of concern to scientists who monitor sea otter populations is that 2011 saw a large jump in the percentage of sea otters deaths that were caused by shark bites. Most of the bites, despite ultimately proving fatal, were considered exploratory in nature as the sharks were looking for their preferred food of sea lion or seal but scientists are still unsure as to why there was such a large increase in these attacks. Of more concern to scientists was the rise in the number of female sea otters that were killed since female deaths will have a greater impact on the population growth. While sea otter deaths caused by shark bites occur every year it has been shown to be increasing over the decades. In the 1980′s and ’90′s sharks were responsible for around 8% of sea otter mortalities. By the late 1990′s that number had risen to 15% but in 2010 and 2011 that number has jumped to 30%. Californian’s can continue to help sea otter recovery efforts during the tax season by donating to the California Sea Otter Tax Fund located on the state tax forms. You can read the full USGS press release here. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in How Should We Honor Earth Day? America has many worldwide firsts in conservation: we were the first nation to establish a national park, the first to create a national wildlife refuge, the first to approve a law protecting endangered species and the first to create a national day dedicated to conservation, Earth Day. But today, we are experiencing another period of crisis in America’s commitment to conservation. When did conservation become a polarizing political issue, when it has been, for the past century, a defining characteristic of American values and the American spirit? Ecological Insults and Injuries Revealed Four Years after Deepwater Horizon Four years after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, we’re beginning to see the full scope of how this ecological disaster is impacting our wildlife on land, air and sea. Wolf Weekly Wrap- Up California wavering on protection for gray wolves under state law; Defenders of Wildlife featured on the HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell show tonight; A close up look at the science: wolf breeding pairs in Idaho; bad bills for Mexican gray wolves in Arizona.