Sea otters are listed as an endangered species because they are vulnerable to oil spills from ships and coastal tanker traffic. They also have a reduced population size, which puts them in danger of becoming extinct. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, sea otters have been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1977. They are also protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.Continue Reading
According to Defenders of Wildlife, a wildlife charity organization, sea otters are endangered because they were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1700s and 1800s. Sea otters once numbered in the hundreds of thousands, but fur traders hunted them in large numbers and, consequently, reduced their population size. The International Fur Seal Treaty of 1911, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act of 1977 helped stop the sea otter population from dwindling. However, the sea otter population has been slow to recover.
In addition to oil spills, sea otters also face other human threats. For example, sea otters sometimes get caught in fishing nets and traps. They eat many of the same types of shellfish that humans like to eat, such as sea urchins, lobsters and crabs. As a result, some fisherman view sea otters as competition and set traps in which they become entangled and drown. These incidents, however, are occurring less frequently due to the various endangered species acts that protect the species.Learn more about Mammals
Sea otters eat mainly slow-moving fish and marine invertebrates, such as crabs, sea urchins, abalones, clams, mussels, snails and octopuses. However, the diet and eating habits of sea otters may vary depending upon the location and season.Full Answer >
Sea otters are mammals that belong to the weasel family, have the densest fur of all animals and are a keystone species. As a keystone species, the sea otter is critical for the health and well-being of a great number of other species. They are the heaviest weasels and the second smallest marine mammals.Full Answer >
Killer whales are endangered due to a number of threats, including oil spills, bio-accumulation of PCB and other contaminants, noise pollution, collisions with ships, entanglement in fishing gear, shootings by fishermen, and habitat disturbance by whale watchers. Additionally, the depletion of populations of prey, such as marine mammals and certain species of fish, affects its ecosystem.Full Answer >
River otters have specialized senses to deal with their environment, including good vision and sensitive whiskers as well as the ability to stay submerged in water for minutes at a time. When they aren't hunting, they like to play with each other.Full Answer >