Featured Image Credit: Unsplash
By: Sarah Sharkey
Sea otters are making a recovery along the Washington Coast. Many people in the area are thrilled at an increasing number of otters making their home in the Puget Sound area. The trend is encouraging, but why did otters disappear in the first place?
Estimates of the sea otter population on the Pacific coast were once believed to be around 300,000. Although the otters were plentiful, they were hunted to almost extinction by 1900. Many fur traders sought their warm pelts that have almost 1 million hairs per square inch. The excessively thick fur is meant to keep a semi-waterproof layer between the warm mammalian body and the chilling temperatures of the Pacific Ocean.
The otters officially received protection in 1911 with the enactment of the International Fur Treaty. Although legal hunting was prohibited, the sea otters still had a long road to recovery after this action. Currently, there are around 1,000 sea otters in the Washington area, but the number of otters is slowly increasing.
Although it may still take many years (or even decades) for the population to recover completely, it is encouraging to see many otters start to return to this natural part of their home range.
Learn more from our source.