Sea otters are small marine mammals (members of the weasel family) that are native to the the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. The historic range of sea otters has been known to stretch all the way from the shores of Japan, along the Siberian coast, over and across to the shores of Canada and Alaska, down the coast of the western United States including, Washington, Oregon, California, all the way down to Baja California. The heaviest population of wild sea otters can be found in the waters of Alaska and Canada.
Sea Otters are able to swim/float and survive in colder waters due to there extremely dense fur coat that provides them with insolation. Sea Otters pray mostly only live invertebrates such as sea urchins, mollusca, and crustaceans as well as certain types of fish. These intuitive creatures are able to use rocks to help pry their food from shells making it one of the few animal species that are able to use tools.
Ever since the early 1900’s, the sea otter population has been slowly but surely decreasing. With roughly 100,000 sea otters left in the world, and limited resources and habitats for them to rely on, the population of the sea otter continues to decline. They are now listed as endangered on the Marine Mammal Protection and Endangered Species Act due to threats such as:
- Habitate and resource loss
- Fur trade
- Oil Spills
- Conflicts with humans (fishing traps and nets)
Below are videos and contact information for rescue and rehabilitation programs on the west coast.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located in Monterey, California. This aquarium is unique because it has conservation and rehabilitation program designed to bring awareness, and support to threatened and endangered species in the local area as well as up and down the western coast. Listed below are contact information for their rescue program in case bystanders find dead, injured or stranded sea otters.
To report a stranded sea otter, contact one of the following agencies:
In Central California:
Monterey Bay Aquarium
(sea otter 24-hour emergency line)
The Marine Mammal Center
Shedd Aquarium (in Chicago) has teamed up with the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) in Seaward, Alaska to help care for a rescued sea otter pup and prepare for rehabilitation.
Stranding Hotline Information:
Phone: (907) 224-6395
Toll Free: (888) 774-7325
The Vancouver Aquarium, located in Vancouver, Canada, is one of the leading aquariums not only in Canada but also along the western seaboard. They work towards ocean conservation and protection of its flora and fauna.
Phone toll-free: 1-866-I-SAW-ONE (1-866-472-9663)