Ottahs! Photo: Casey Weissburg, Creative Commons license (CC-BY-NC 4.0), via iNaturalist.

Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) once swam along the North Coast of California, but 18th- and 19th-century fur trappers nearly caused the species to go extinct. Statewide, only one remnant population of approximately fifty individuals was left in Big Sur by the 1930s.  Today nearly 100 years later, thanks to concerted efforts, more than 3,000 sea otters call California home from that small initial remaining population. While recovery efforts have increased the overall population, sea otters are still only occupy a narrow belt, roughly from Santa Cruz to Point Conception, of their historic range. 

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has studied the feasibility of sea otter reintroduction efforts and is hosting open houses across the North Coast to discuss potential reintroduction. Guests Chanel Hason of the Elakha Alliance and Andrew Johnson of Defenders of Wildlife join the show to discuss the vital role that sea otters play in ocean ecosystems and their work to facilitate sea otter introduction. 

Want to attend a meeting? There are some that are (likely) close to you!

  • Crescent City - June 24, 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM, Del Norte Recreation Department, Gymnasium 1005 H St., Crescent City, CA 95531
  • Arcata - June 25, 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Cal Poly Humboldt, College Creek Complex, Great Hall Community Center Building, Room 260, 1 Rossow St., Arcata, CA 95521
  • Fort Bragg - June 26, 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Noyo Center for Marine Science, Discovery Center 338 N Main St., Fort Bragg, CA 95437