Thinking Like an Ocean

Recovery of Southern sea otters requires more than rescuing the species from the brink of extinction—recovery is also about the restoration of ecological relationships. In his famous essay, “Thinking like a Mountain,” Aldo Leopold recounts an epiphany he experienced while watching the “fierce green fire” fade from the eyes of a dying wolf: “I thought [...]

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California Man Sentenced for Harassing Federally Threatened Southern Sea Otter, Violating Endangered Species Act

NEWS RELEASE: November 12, 2015 Media Contact: Ashley Spratt, 805-644-1766 ext. 369 A California man has been sentenced to 150 hours of community service, a $500 fine, and six months of probation, following intentional harassment of a southern sea otter in Moss Landing, California. Richard Niswonger, 71, of Moss Landing, California pleaded guilty and [...]


Numbers Encouraging, but Shark Bites Still Problematic for Sea Otter Recovery

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — The recovery of southern sea otters appears to have taken an upturn, according to results from the annual California sea otter survey released by the U.S. Geological Survey today. Yet despite an overall increase in sea otter abundance, sharks have been “taking a bite” out of the portion of the population [...]

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Raft of sea otters, Monterey Bay, CA

Major Victory for California’s Threatened Sea Otters: Court Upholds USFWS Decision To End “No-Otter Zone”

Los Angeles, CA – In a major victory for threatened southern sea otters, U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter on Friday issued a ruling denying a challenge by some fishing organizations to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decision that has restored protections for sea otters in Southern California.  Environmental Defense Center, The [...]

Giant kelp forest

MBNMS Releases Preliminary Findings from Upcoming Sanctuary Report

Once an area depleted of marine mammal populations and key fish populations but now teeming with wildlife, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary has experienced dramatic improvement since its designation in 1992. The sanctuary was established for the purpose of resource protection, research, education and public use. In response to the international focus on Monterey Bay [...]

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Increasing White Shark Bites Now Leading Cause of Sea Otter Mortality in California

Southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) are not considered prey for white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias), but in California, sea otter carcasses have been increasingly observed with shark bite wounds over the past decade. USGS and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) researchers have published the data behind this trend in the journal Marine Mammal [...]

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sea otter

Governor Brown signs legislation to help sea otters

Great news to share! Governor Brown signs legislation to extend the California Sea Otter Fund, one of the most critical funding sources for sea otter research, conservation and education. The sunset date of the California Sea Otter Fund has been extended until 2021. About the California Sea Otter Fund The CA Sea Otter Fund supports [...]


Species Ambassador Olive the Sea Otter Dies After White Shark Bite

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) confirmed that the sea otter known as “Olive” died from a shark bite. Olive was estimated around seven years old. Scientists last spotted Olive alive on Feb. 15, 2015, and then a private citizen reported discovering her dead on the beach March 22. After her rescue and rehabilitation [...]


Sea Otter Gives Birth to Twins at Point Lobos

Once the news broke that a female sea otter gave birth to twins last week, we headed down the coast to Point Lobos to see if we could spot the trio. By the time we had arrived, Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Research & Conservation (SORAC) team had already rescued one of the pups, as [...]

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Sea otters rafting in Elkhorn Slough

Legislation introduced to extend funding source for sea otter research, conservation and education

Great news to share! Legislation has been introduced here in California to extend the California Sea Otter Fund, one of the most critical funding sources for sea otter research, conservation and education. Check out these links for more info. Californians, Please Remember Sea Otters on Tax Day California Sea Otter Fund  

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About is an education and outreach initiative dedicated to raising awareness about California's threatened sea otters and the role research plays in the species recovery and conservation. It's a collaboration of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, U.C. Santa Cruz, U.C. Davis, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, among others. We're #WildforOtters! Are you?