Read the following article about
numbers of sea otters remaining in
Sea Otter Census Shows Big Population
From a story by News Reporter Tony Russomanno (September 2003)
It seemed that everywhere
scientists looked this year -- especially in
"That's three resting plus one small" say a counter.
"The spring count this year is the highest we've ever had since 1983," said
Greg Sanders of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "So that's encouraging."
On the chart, the raw
numbers show this year's spike. But when the counts are displayed as a three
year running average, the increase levels out.
Scientists believe a harsh early winter combined with increased food attracted many more otters close in to
This spring, an exceptionally large number of dead and dying sea otters were found around
"It's simply that there are a lot of live ones out there and thus [are] a lot of dead ones accumulating as a result of all these live ones," said Estes.
The increase in dead otters is proportional to the increase in live ones -- meaning that the so-called unusual deaths reported in April were not unusual at all.
Scientists say if the otter count shows an increase over the next several years, they'll know the downward population trend that began in the mid-1990s has actually reversed. Despite the increase this year, the 2,505 otters counted are still a fraction of the 18,000 to 20,000 believed to have lived along what is now the