Sea Otters were gradually going extinct but, have made a remarkable comeback. The count was believed to have crossed a figure of 3,090 along the coast of California and, in the opinion of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, if the trend is maintained, they can be removed from the list of the endangered species.

The picture is bright

Los Angeles Times reports that in Morro Bay, the survival of the sea otters is a hopeful development. There was a time in the past when they were few and far between, but the situation has changed, and around 50 can be seen around the docks or along the sand strip near Morro Rock.

They have become a familiar sight in the beach towns of California where families go to spend the weekend.

Otters are mammals, have whiskers and are furry and possess retractable claws like those of a cat and a jaw like that of a dog. Even the huge 600-pound sea lion treat them with kid gloves and will take a detour around an otter instead of coming in its path.

The southern sea otters do not eat fish and were hunted to near extinction by the fur trade in the 1700s and 1800s. The last of the colonies was slaughtered near Monterey in 1831 but in 1938, the owner of a ranch near Big Sur, saw them reappear.

He tried to convince others of this, and it took time for them to accept the fact that sea otters had returned.

Secret of the revival

Some major threats associated with the decline in their numbers are oil spills, toxins, bacteria and even, the sharks. Sea otters are protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1973 and, researchers believe that the revival that is now seen in California can be attributed to the death of starfish from a mysterious disease.

Consequently, there are more sea urchins around for the otters to feed on apart from crabs and clams and, with an abundant supply of food, the population of otters is on the rise.

It is the dream of every environmentalist to bring back into circulation species that are on the verge of becoming extinct. The broad reasons for losing various species are well known. Some of these are deterioration of the environment and loss of habitat and, if these are restored, life can continue to blossom instead of waiting for extinction.

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