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Sea Otter Population Declining Again, State Has No Money to Research Why

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Photo by Dave Bezaire & Susi Havens-Bezaire via Flickr
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These weasels are so damn cute, but once again their population is dwindling. In the late 19th Century and into the early 20th, the population estimated to be over 100,000 decreased to extreme lows of around 1,000 to 2,000 thanks to the fur trade (in California, the population was specifically around 16,000 which was decimated to around 50). Today they are protected by law and a Monterey Aquarium favorite.

Although a decapitated sea otter was found in Morro Bay last April, at least 50 percent of otter deaths are now disease related.

"Despite the sea otter’s listing on the Endangered Species list, federal funding for sea otter research has always been very limited, and has declined considerably in the last three years," said Dr. Dave Jessup, Wildlife Veterinarian for the California Department
of Fish and Game. "Today there is no funding to enable California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to conduct research as to why sea otters are dying and what can be done about it. Private funding, and research grants have helped, but these sources have also dried up."

In an e-mail blast, Jessup continues to talk about the threat to Sea Otter funding in California and how people can help.