California Sea Otter Fund: $3 Million and Counting

Since it’s inception in 2007, the California Sea Otter Fund has provided critical support for sea otter research and conservation. The Fund has raised over $3 million through the generous and continued support of otter-loving Californians. Each year the Fund must meet a target goal in order to stay on the tax form the following year so please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the California Sea Otter Fund when you file your state income taxes, even if it’s a small amount. The money raised goes to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California Coastal Conservancy to fund research focusing on what’s threatening sea otter population recovery, public outreach and education, and ongoing investigations into sea otter harassment.

Look for line 410 on Form 540. With only 3,000 southern sea otters left in the wild today, every otter counts!

California’s southern sea otter has been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act since 1977. 41 years later and counting, their conservation status remains unchanged and their future uncertain. Sea otter population growth has stalled in recent years and many hurdles for full population recovery remain. There are only about 3,000 southern sea otters left in the wild today.

Recent studies have shown that fatal white shark bites have increasingly become the leading cause of sea otter mortality in California, a concerning trend that is likely impacting range expansion and population recovery. Scientists also attribute a substantial percentage of southern sea otter mortality to infectious diseases, many of which are known to have anthropogenic causes and land-to-sea linkages.  White shark bites, pathogens and parasites, food availability, nutritional deficiencies, habitat degradation, coastal pollutants and contaminant exposure are among many of the contributing factors threatening the recovery of the species.  And the risk of a major oil spill remains a serious threat.

So, please remember sea otters when you file your taxes and enter a donation on line 410 on Form 540. The sea otters will thank you!