about sea otters
The southern, or California, sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) is a highly charismatic, intelligent marine mammal and an icon for the California coast. Southern sea otters have been listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act since 1977 and are considered “depleted” under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The sea otter is the smallest marine mammal in North America and are known to be a keystone species, indicator or sentinel species, and an umbrella species. The numbers of California sea otters has increased since their discovery off the Big Sur coast in 1938 but the population still continues to struggle.