Ocean for Otters

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The public will have more time to comment on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to designate almost 6,000 square miles of southwest Alaska as critical habitat for the Northern Sea Otter.



The otters were hunted nearly to extinction for their fur, which is the densest of all animals, but decades of conservation efforts led to rebounding populations throughout their range. However, since the 1980’s the Aleutian Islands population has been in rapid decline due to oil spills (over 3,000 died in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez spill), overfishing of sea otter prey fish, a large increase in killer whale attacks, and the general exemption of Alaska Natives from regulations banning the taking of sea mammals.

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