Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Species Account/Enhydra lutris

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Enhydra lutris (Sea Otter)

Where found: The Sea Otter is native to the North Pacific, from northern Japan and Kamchatka east across the Aleutian Islands south to California.

Description: Hunted extensively for their luxurious fur—the densest of all mammals with up to 394,000 hairs per square centimeter— from 1741 onwards, sea otter populations were greatly reduced to the point of extermination in many parts of their historic range. By 1911 the world population was estimated to be just 1,000-2,000 individuals in 13 colonies. Its estimated that a half million to a million otters were killed over time and over hunted and the population is thought to have been 150,000 to 300,000 historically before the years of the great hunt. Although several subspecies are still endangered, the otters have since been legally protected, and reintroduction efforts have shown positive results in some areas.

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