MONTEREY (KCBS) – The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting a big jump in the number of dead sea otters being found along the California coast.

The agency reported about 304 carcasses found last year in California, up from 232 dead otters in 2009.

The Otter Project chief executive Steve Shimek said more female otters and pups were found in 2010.

“Now we also know that a large number of pups died in 2010,” Shimek said. “So we’re not replacing animals with pups and with females dying, the reproductive potential of the population is also being decreased.”

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

Shimek said 20 percent of the otter deaths were caused by predators, but about half were killed by disease.

“Sea otters are in the same water that when we go the beach, when we go scuba diving, when we go swimming in the ocean,” he said. “All those activities that we do on the beach, that’s the same water. And the otters are telling us there is something wrong with the water.”

A count in the spring put the sea otter population at a little more than 2,700.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (3)
  1. Ron Keffer says:

    I think there is a direct coralation between man and Otter. we are tagging the otters in record numbers and this should stop. Most Sea Otters in Moss Landing are tagged. You can view the biologist tracking them. I think KCBS needs to find out the exact number.

  2. tobeornottobe says:

    Could you make this article somewhat credible by at least discussing the lack of food (our fisheries are exhausted) before making stupid speculation about humans swimming in the ocean being the primary cause. We need more environmentalists with brains and no underlying agenda to draw OBJECTIVE conclusions about environmental threats. Most environmentalists today seem to have abandoned the scientific process compltely so they can jump directly to thier preconcieved, agenda driven ideas. The environment is too important to entrust to the current batch of environmental dopes. We will not fix anything without honest, forthright, scientific invstigation.

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