LAGUNA BEACH (CBS/AP) — The rare sighting of a sea otter swimming just off Southern California has scientists hoping it’s a sign of a resurgence for the creatures that were once hunted to near extinction.
The Orange County Register reported Saturday that two employees of the Crystal Cove Alliance spotted the sea otter last week near Laguna Beach.READ MORE: "Someone's Shooting Outside The Door": Video, Audio Recordings Reveal Frantic Moments Of Deadly VTA Shooting
They were so excited they immediately gave it a name: Ollie the otter.
Julianne Steers, director of husbandry at the Ocean Institute, tells the newspaper it’s possible that the mammals are returning to Southern California because there’s a food source here that they are chasing.
Steers says there’s also been word of sightings off San Clemente and San Mateo.READ MORE: UPDATE: Fireworks May Have Sparked 4-Alarm Brush Fire In Vallejo, Homes Damaged
Sea otters were listed as an endangered species in 1973.
A sighting off Laguna in 2011 was the first in three decades.
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