Bringing Back Sea Otters: Humans Also Benefit

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Bringing Back Sea Otters Benefits People, Too

by James Dineen/Smithsonianmag.com

Trappers and traders in the 18th and 19th centuries prized sea otters for their thick, waterproof fur—and the high prices they would bring. In 1890, for example, a newspaper reported that Russian noblemen who sought to adorn their overcoats with otter pelts were willing to pay nearly $45,000 in today’s money for a single pelt. And so the sea otter (Enhydra lutris), once common from the Baja coast of Mexico to the northern shores of Japan, was nearly hunted to extinction by the turn of the 20th century.

Over the past hundred years, thanks to conservation efforts, sea otters have now recovered across much of their historical range along the Pacific Coast of North America, but they haven’t always been welcomed back. The problem is that sea otters compete with people for the shellfish and urchins that moved in when the otter population were depleted, a conflict that has provoked debate about balancing the need protections for the otters with the economic impact of their presence in the coastal waters.

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Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

Carol’s Archives 2009-2013
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2 COMMENTS

  1. Otter watching is one of Alaska’s past time, while sailing in the open waters, whether on the ferry system, a fishin boat or etc. Along with watching the numerous whale species, salmon runs, birds or an occaisional medium or king crab — that is swimming by. River otters are real clowns in the water too.

    • I used to watch them off of Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. Always fun to see what they are going to do next.