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New Southern Sea Otter Census Shows Slight Dip

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A new census by state and federal marine biologists shows that the Southern Sea Otter population off of California has dipped slightly. The otters were hunted to near extinction in the 1800’s and 1900’s. They are now a protected species at the state and federal levels.

The latest survey shows there are around 2960 otters, down more than 160 from 2018. Biologists note that one of the areas hit by the biggest decline is off of northern San Luis Obispo County and Monterey County, and they think sharks may be responsible for it.

Researchers have been looking at whether there are enough otters now to consider delisting them from the Endangered Species Act.