Alaskan sea otters disappearing


Biologists in Alaska are confounded by a drastic decline in sea otter numbers.

Alaska is home to 90 per cent of the world’s sea otter population, now estimated to stand around 70,000 animals, but, in certain regions of the state, sea otters are disappearing in great numbers.

Over the past five years, the sea otter population in the Aleutian Island chain has dropped by 70 per cent. Along the northern Alaskan peninsula, the population has gone down by around 50 per cent, while along the southern Alaskan peninsula the numbers have plumetted by 90 per cent.

Biologists believe hungry killer whales or environmental changes due to global warming could be responsible for the sea otter decline in these regions.

Sea otters were almost hunted to extinction before commercial hunting of the species was banned in 1911.

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