southern sea otter

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[46] The teeth and bones are sometimes stained purple as a result of ingesting sea urchins. [65] Although sea otters can be playful and sociable, they are not considered to be truly social animals. A newborn southern sea otter pup is a buff color, 22 to 24 inches (55 – 60 cm) in length and 4 to 5 lbs. In the 1980s, the area was home to an estimated 55,000 to 100,000 sea otters, but the population fell to around 6,000 animals by 2000. [157] Thus began what is sometimes called the "Great Hunt", which would continue for another hundred years. [55][182] Shellfish declines have also occurred in many parts of the North American Pacific coast that do not have sea otters, and conservationists sometimes note the existence of large concentrations of shellfish on the coast is a recent development resulting from the fur trade's near-extirpation of the sea otter. [32] The fifth digit on each hind foot is longest, facilitating swimming while on its back, but making walking difficult. [176] The Toxoplasma gondii parasite, which is often fatal to sea otters, is carried by wild and domestic cats and may be transmitted by domestic cat droppings flushed into the ocean via sewage systems. Climate Change – KQED/QUEST (2014)", "Aquatic Species at Risk – Species Profile – Sea Otter", "Parasite Shed in Cat Feces Kills Sea Otters – California Sea Grant", "Aleutian Sea Otter population falls 70% in eight years", National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "National Marine Sanctuaries Regulations", "Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary History", "Historical Ecology of Late Holocene Sea Otters (, "Seattle Aquarium's Youngest Sea Otter Lootas Becomes a Mom", "Vancouver Aquarium's oldest sea otter, Nyac, passes", De Bestiis Marinis, or, The Beasts of the Sea (1751), Precipice of Survival: The Southern Sea Otter, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sea_otter&oldid=998917440, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia indefinitely move-protected pages, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2020, Articles containing potentially dated statements from January 2015, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 7 January 2021, at 16:59. [16] Originally named Lutra marina, it underwent numerous name changes before being accepted as Enhydra lutris in 1922. [36] When at the surface, it usually floats on its back and moves by sculling its feet and tail from side to side. [163], Russian hunting expanded to the south, initiated by American ship captains, who subcontracted Russian supervisors and Aleut hunters[164] in what are now Washington, Oregon, and California. The tail is short in comparison to those of other otters. [24] It is the only marine animal capable of lifting and turning over rocks, which it often does with its front paws when searching for prey. [59] To open hard shells, it may pound its prey with both paws against a rock on its chest. [94] Individuals generally occupy a home range a few kilometres long, and remain there year-round. Southern Sea Otter Friend Data; Voiced by: 山根綺 Yamane Aya. [56] Juveniles are typically independent at six to eight months, but a mother may be forced to abandon a pup if she cannot find enough food for it;[77] at the other extreme, a pup may nurse until it is almost adult size. [51], The sea otter is diurnal. This male is thought to have originated from a colony in Washington, but disappeared after a coastal storm. [16] Sea otters can thoroughly remove abalone from an area except for specimens in deep rock crevices,[149] however, they never completely wipe out a prey species from an area. JAYASRI GM, 2 days ago 0 6 min read 7 . Its range extended across the Aleutians to the Siberian … Historically, Sea Otters occurred across the North Pacific Rim, ranging from Hokkaido, Japan, through the Kuril Islands, the Kamchatka Peninsula, the Commander Islands, the Aleutian Islands, peninsular and south coastal Alaska and south to Baja California, Mexico (Kenyon 1969). This, of course, would be the adorable and charismatic sea otter, or more specifically, the southern sea otter. The southern subspecies lives along the central California coast from San Mateo County to Santa Barbara County. Great for desktop, mobile, Android or iPhone backgrounds or a Facebook cover photo. [54] When eating, sea otters roll in the water frequently, apparently to wash food scraps from their fur. [34] The bones show osteosclerosis, increasing their density to reduce buoyancy. [124] The spring 2016 count at San Nicolas Island was 104 sea otters, continuing a 5-year positive trend of over 12% per year. [24] The fur is thick year-round, as it is shed and replaced gradually rather than in a distinct molting season. Choose from high quality, high res, hd, widescreen, and other options. [25], Unlike most other marine mammals, the sea otter has no blubber and relies on its exceptionally thick fur to keep warm. [190] The beginning of commercial exploitation had a great impact on the human, as well as animal, populations  the Ainu and Aleuts have been displaced or their numbers are dwindling, while the coastal tribes of North America, where the otter is in any case greatly depleted, no longer rely as intimately on sea mammals for survival. [31] The hind feet, which provide most of its propulsion in swimming, are long, broadly flattened, and fully webbed. The most significant threat to sea otters is oil spills,[59] to which they are particularly vulnerable, since they rely on their fur to keep warm. As top predators, sea otters are critical to maintaining the balance of nearshore ecosystems, such as kelp forests, embayments and estuaries. One animal I run into on a daily basis is one I used to take for granted. Predator: Great White Shark. Its claws are retractable and the front paws have rough pads. [168] So few remained, perhaps only 1,000–2,000 individuals in the wild, that many believed the species would become extinct. Known for their agility and playful social behavior, our dolphins are a must-see at Georgia Aquarium! [26] Most of its need for water is met through food, although, in contrast to most other marine mammals, it also drinks seawater. Scientific Name: Enhydra Lutris. [112][113][114] Their principal range has gradually expanded and extends from Pigeon Point in San Mateo County to Santa Barbara County. Cyanobacteria are found in stagnant freshwater enriched with nitrogen and phosphorus from septic tank and agricultural fertilizer runoff, and may be flushed into the ocean when streamflows are high in the rainy season. In addition, white abalone (Haliotis sorenseni), a species never overlapping with sea otter, had declined in numbers 99% by 1996, and became the first marine invertebrate to be federally listed as endangered. However, this translocation effort failed and otters soon again disappeared from the state. [135] Great white sharks do not consume relatively fat-poor sea otters but shark-bitten carcasses have increased from 8% in the 1980s to 15% in the 1990s and to 30% in 2010 and 2011. However, biologists have confirmed isolated sightings of sea otters in these areas since the mid-1990s. In this pouch (preferentially the left one), the animal stores collected food to bring to the surface. Urban runoff transporting cat feces into the ocean brings Toxoplasma gondii, an obligate parasite of felids, which has killed sea otters. A raft typically contains 10 to 100 animals, with male rafts being larger than female ones. It has a period of foraging and eating in the morning, starting about an hour before sunrise, then rests or sleeps in mid-day. [137] However, the population increased markedly from 2015 to 2016, with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) California sea otter survey 3-year average reaching 3,272 in 2016, the first time it exceeded the threshold for delisting from the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The southern sea otter is found along the California coast and share the basic physical characteristics of all sea otters, but they are the smallest of the subspecies. The short, more dense, under layer of fur can have as many as 1 million hairs per square inch, which is the densest of any … 2006b). IUCN Red List: Endangered. [158] In 1775 at Okhotsk, sea otter pelts were worth 50–80 rubles as opposed to 2.5 rubles for sable. [176], Sea otter habitat is preserved through several protected areas in the United States, Russia and Canada. It is not known if this colony, which numbered about 300 animals in 2004, was founded by transplanted otters or was a remnant population that had gone undetected. [99] A massive decline in sea otter populations in the Aleutian Islands accounts for most of the change; the cause of this decline is not known, although orca predation is suspected. [148] The diet of local populations also changes over time, as sea otters can significantly deplete populations of highly preferred prey such as large sea urchins, and prey availability is also affected by other factors such as fishing by humans. [69] Gestation appears to vary from four to twelve months, as the species is capable of delayed implantation followed by four months of pregnancy. (. It also uses a flap of skin located under each foreleg to hold food temporarily while hunting until it returns to the surface. During the nineteenth century, the southern sea otter was known along the entire Pacific coast of North America, from Alaska to central Baja California. In the eastern Pacific Ocean, E. l. kenyoni, the northern sea otter, is found from Alaska's Aleutian Islands to Oregon and E. l. nereis, the southern sea otter, is native to central and southern California. [126], When the USFWS implemented the translocation program, it also attempted, in 1986, to implement "zonal management" of the Californian population. [64], The species exhibits a variety of vocal behaviors. After the years of the Great Hunt, the population in these areas, currently part of Russia, was only 750. The southern sea otter lives in shallower waters off the rocky Pacific coasts, staying inside and very close to large kelp beds, which provide protection and support large numbers of shellfish. Hatch, David R. (2002) Elakha: Sea Otters, Native People, and European Colonization in the North Pacific. [141], Sea otters consume over 100 prey species. California’s southern sea otter has been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act since 1977. She has since been redesigned and has appeared in the mobile games Kemono Friends Festival, Kemono Friends 3, and Kemono Friends Pavilion. [33], Long, highly sensitive whiskers and front paws help the sea otter find prey by touch when waters are dark or murky. [65] Females coo when they are apparently content; males may grunt instead. [71] Twins occur in 2% of births; however, usually only one pup survives. [136], For southern sea otters to be considered for removal from threatened species listing, the U.S. The only member of the genus Enhydra, the sea otter is so different from other mustelid species that, as recently … [43], An adult's 32 teeth, particularly the molars, are flattened and rounded for crushing rather than cutting food. [71] In the wild, sea otters live to a maximum age of 23 years,[24] with lifespans ranging from 10 to 15 years for males and 15–20 years for females. Download a beautiful Southern sea otters wallpaper from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The sea otters at the Oregon Coast Aquarium are one of the most popular attractions. Like other members of this family, they have very thick fur. Read about how we use cookies by visiting our "Privacy and Terms." [56] There, the sea otter eats while floating on its back, using its forepaws to tear food apart and bring it to its mouth. Beginner Environmental Leadership Program, Alliance of Marine Mammals Parks & Aquariums (AMMPA), International Marine Animal Trainer's Association (IMATA). They swim belly-up, moving through the water at 3-5 miles an hour with their webbed hind feet. [162], Other nations joined in the hunt in the south. It could have traveled to the state from either California or Washington. [130][131] As of spring 2010, the northern boundary had moved from about Tunitas Creek to a point 2 km southeast of Pigeon Point, and the southern boundary has moved from approximately Coal Oil Point to Gaviota State Park. [95], The sea otter population is thought to have once been 150,000 to 300,000,[19] stretching in an arc across the North Pacific from northern Japan to the central Baja California Peninsula in Mexico. However, temporary pair-bonding occurs for a few days between a female in estrus and her mate. [6] Genetic analysis indicates the sea otter and its closest extant relatives, which include the African speckle-throated otter, European otter, African clawless otter and oriental small-clawed otter, shared an ancestor approximately 5 million years ago. [188] The sea otter is a recurring figure in Ainu folklore. [123] Then, in response to lawsuits filed by the Santa Barbara-based Environmental Defense Center and the Otter Project, on 19 December 2012 the USFWS declared that the "no otter zone" experiment was a failure, and will protect the otters re-colonizing the coast south of Point Conception as threatened species. [160] The Aleut population was reduced, by the Russians' own estimate, from 20,000 to 2,000. Adult males average 65 lbs. [28] As the ability of the guard hairs to repel water depends on utmost cleanliness, the sea otter has the ability to reach and groom the fur on any part of its body, taking advantage of its loose skin and an unusually supple skeleton. The fur trade that began in the 1740s reduced the sea otter's numbers to an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 members in 13 colonies. [118] By 1817, sea otters in the area were practically eliminated and the Russians sought permission from the Spanish and the Mexican governments to hunt further and further south of San Francisco. Currently the southern sea otter population is estimated at just above 3,000 animals. (1.8-2.3 kg). [192], Sea otters can do well in captivity, and are featured in over 40 public aquariums and zoos. [103] By 2006, though, the Alaska population had fallen to an estimated 73,000 animals. Rodents (of which the beaver is one) are not closely related to otters, which are carnivorans. Reintroduced populations in British Columbia and Washington state. [174] Unusually high mortality rates amongst adult and subadult otters, particularly females, have been reported. These are the first documented sightings of otters this far south in 30 years. [87], There are several documented cases in which male sea otters have forcibly copulated with juvenile harbor seals, sometimes resulting in death. [63] Males that do not have territories tend to congregate in large, male-only groups,[63] and swim through female areas when searching for a mate. [160] In 1778, British explorer Captain James Cook reached Vancouver Island and bought sea otter furs from the First Nations people. The Russians initially traded with the Aleuts inhabitants of these islands for otter pelts, but later enslaved the Aleuts, taking women and children hostage and torturing and killing Aleut men to force them to hunt. Sea urchins graze on the lower stems of kelp, causing the kelp to drift away and die. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson wrote: As a playful, photogenic, innocent bystander, the sea otter epitomized the role of victim ... cute and frolicsome sea otters suddenly in distress, oiled, frightened, and dying, in a losing battle with the oil. The sea otter is the heaviest (the giant otter is longer, but significantly slimmer) member of the family Mustelidae, a diverse group that includes the 13 otter species and terrestrial animals such as weasels, badgers, and minks. [76] A pup, with guidance from its mother, practices swimming and diving for several weeks before it is able to reach the sea floor. Touch Pool 1; Crawl Tunnel Viewing Windows 3; Kelp Forest 1; Cold ocean waters teem with fish and marine mammals, just as they do in Cold Water Quest. [9] The modern sea otter evolved initially in northern Hokkaidō and Russia, and then spread east to the Aleutian Islands, mainland Alaska, and down the North American coast. [3] When underwater, its body is long and streamlined, with the short forelimbs pressed closely against the chest. To the surprise of biologists, the majority of the San Nicolas sea otters swam back to the mainland. For these reasons, the sea otter remains classified as an endangered species. [70], Birth usually takes place in the water and typically produces a single pup weighing 1.4 to 2.3 kg (3 to 5 lb). Young predators may kill an otter and not eat it. [57], The sea otter's use of rocks when hunting and feeding makes it one of the few mammal species to use tools. [189] These links have been associated with the many human-like behavioral features of the sea otter, including apparent playfulness, strong mother-pup bonds and tool use, yielding to ready anthropomorphism. Wild sea otters typically have a lifespan between 15 and 20 years. Listed as “threatened” under the U.S. Contents. Found in marine habitats with rocky or muddy sea bottoms and is frequently associated with kelp forests. Females give live birth to, normally, one pup at a time. A remnant population survived off Vancouver Island into the 20th century, but it died out despite the 1911 international protection treaty, with the last sea otter taken near Kyuquot in 1929. [173], Many facets of the interaction between sea otters and the human economy are not as immediately felt. The cry of a pup is often compared to that of a gull. The male lives to about 10 to 15 years in the ocean, while the female’s lifespan can be a little longer. That … [55] Mating takes place in the water and can be rough, the male biting the female on the muzzle – which often leaves scars on the nose – and sometimes holding her head under water. [128] Although abalone fisherman blamed the incursions of sea otters for the decline of abalone, commercial abalone fishing in southern California came to an end from overfishing in 1997, years before significant otter moved south of Point Conception. Its relatively large kidneys enable it to derive fresh water from sea water and excrete concentrated urine. This species, considered a keystone species, helps maintain the health of kelp forests by preying on sea urchins, which, if allowed to proliferate, can destroy a kelp forest. Studies on southern sea otters in California have shown that diet can be a highly individual thing, in which an otter will specialize in one to three types of prey that is not influenced directly by prey availability. In fact, at 850,000 to 1 million hairs per square inch, sea otters have the thickest fur of any mammal. In marine protected areas, polluting activities such as dumping of waste and oil drilling are typically prohibited. [44] Seals and sea otters are the only carnivores with two pairs of lower incisor teeth rather than three;[45] the adult dental formula is 3.1.3.12.1.3.2. [127] However, after engaging in a period of public commentary in 2005, the Fish and Wildlife Service failed to release a formal decision on the issue. [71] Pup mortality is high, particularly during an individual's first winter – by one estimate, only 25% of pups survive their first year. In 1970 and 1971, a total of 95 sea otters were transplanted from Amchitka Island, Alaska to the Southern Oregon coast. [16][146] Contrary to popular depictions, sea otters rarely eat starfish, and any kelp that is consumed apparently passes through the sea otter's system undigested. A number of other otter species, while predominantly living in fresh water, are commonly found in marine coastal habitats. [176][177] Although disease has clearly contributed to the deaths of many of California's sea otters, it is not known why the California population is apparently more affected by disease than populations in other areas. Dennis Christen is Georgia Aquarium’s senior director of zoological operations responsible for leading a diverse group of animal trainers in the management, care, training, and programming of the marine mammal and sea bird collection. The Southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) is a marine mammal native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. He brings more than 30 years of professional marine mammal management, husbandry, rehabilitation, and training experience to the Aquarium. [citation needed], The historic population of California sea otters was estimated at 16,000 before the fur trade decimated the population, leading to their assumed extinction. Its diet includes prey species that are also valued by humans as food, leading to conflicts between sea otters and fisheries. Northern sea otters possess longer mandibles (lower jaws) while southern sea otters have longer rostrums and smaller teeth. [100] By 2013, this population exceeded 1,100 individuals, was increasing at an estimated 12.6% annual rate, and its range included Aristazabal Island, and Milbanke Sound south to Calvert Island. It must eat an estimated 25 to 38% of its own body weight in food each day to burn the calories necessary to counteract the loss of heat due to the cold water environment. Leading mammalian predators of this species include orcas and sea lions, and bald eagles may grab pups from the surface of the water. Cold water is kept completely away from the skin and heat loss is limited. The southern sea otter is dark to reddish brown in color with a lighter colored head, throat, and chest. In 1973, the population in Alaska was estimated at between 100,000 and 125,000 animals. [16], Nursing lasts six to eight months in Californian populations and four to twelve months in Alaska, with the mother beginning to offer bits of prey at one to two months. The Russians found the sea otter far more valuable than the sable skins that had driven and paid for most of their expansion across Siberia. The tail is short in comparison to those of other otters. The otter has a set of canine teeth as well. [5] Male sea otters usually weigh 22 to 45 kg (49 to 99 lb) and are 1.2 to 1.5 m (3 ft 11 in to 4 ft 11 in) in length, though specimens up to 54 kg (119 lb) have been recorded. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determined that the population should exceed 3,090 for three consecutive years. [104], Another area of concern is California, where recovery began to fluctuate or decline in the late 1990s. The sea otter is the heaviest (the giant otter is longer, but significantly slimmer) member of the family Mustelidae,[3] a diverse group that includes the 13 otter species and terrestrial animals such as weasels, badgers, and minks. [59] On land, young sea otters may face attack from bears and coyotes. Kelp forests sequester (absorb and capture) CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. [183] Although human divers harvest red sea urchins both for food and to protect the kelp, sea otters hunt more sea urchin species and are more consistently effective in controlling these populations. Pups remain dependent upon their mothers for approximately six months. [67] They spend much time alone, and each adult can meet its own hunting, grooming, and defense needs [67], Sea otters are polygynous: males have multiple female partners. [115], Sea otters were once numerous in San Francisco Bay. Also known as the southern sea otter, this subspecies of otter is found from California to Washington with other subspecies found in Alaska, Canada, Russia, and Japan. Many Aleuts were either murdered by the Russians or died from diseases the hunters had introduced. The southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) is the heaviest member of the weasel family and the second smallest marine mammal. The hind feet and front paws lose the most heat because fur is sparse or absent, so the sea otter often can be seen holding them out of water to conserve body heat while it floats on its back at the surface. Russia was also exploring the far northern Pacific at this time, and sent Vitus Bering to map the Arctic coast and find routes from Siberia to North America. Unlike other marine mammals, sea otters do not have a thick layer of blubber and rely upon their water-resistant fur for insulation. [91] They are found most often in areas with protection from the most severe ocean winds, such as rocky coastlines, thick kelp forests, and barrier reefs. Behind its cute face and fluffy fur, the sea otter is an aquatic environmentalist. [197] Milo, the darker one, died of lymphoma in January 2012[198], species of marine mammal from the northern and eastern coasts of the North Pacific Ocean, At least one female is known to have died from an infected nose. [63] As autumn is the peak breeding season in most areas, males typically defend their territory only from spring to autumn. [129], Although the southern sea otter's range has continuously expanded from the remnant population of about 50 individuals in Big Sur since protection in 1911, from 2007 to 2010, the otter population and its range contracted and since 2010 has made little progress. Sea otter pelts were given in potlatches to mark coming-of-age ceremonies, weddings, and funerals. Southern Sea Otter is a Friend in Kemono Friends 3 that appears in both versions of the game. [142] In most of its range, the sea otter's diet consists almost exclusively of marine benthic invertebrates, including sea urchins, fat innkeeper worms, a variety of bivalves such as clams and mussels, abalone, other mollusks, crustaceans, and snails.

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