Pollutants killing West Coast sea otters

Apr 06, 2006

Pollutants entering the Pacific Ocean from the U.S. West Coast may be killing hundreds of southern sea otters each year.

Although sea otters normally live for about 15 years, large numbers of dead breeding-age animals have been reported, National Geographic News reported.

Scientists believe the pollutants suppress the sea otters' immune systems, allowing them to become more susceptible to infectious diseases.

Conservationists told NGN the deaths could erase decades of conservation efforts that have helped restore the population to about 2,500.

Sea otters were hunted to the brink of extinction during the 18th and 19th centuries, but they have been protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act since 1977.

Lillian Carswell, a Santa Cruz, Calif., biologist told NGN scientists have not yet determined the precise reasons for the deaths.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Water fleas prepared for trip to space

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cyclist's helmet, Volvo car to communicate for safety

52 minutes ago

Volvo calls it "a wearable life-saving wearable cycling tech concept." The car maker is referring to a connected car and helmet prototype that enables two-way communication between Volvo drivers and cyclists ...

Rising anger as Nicaragua canal to break ground

1 hour ago

As a conscripted soldier during the Contra War of the 1980s, Esteban Ruiz used to flee from battles because he didn't want to have to kill anyone. But now, as the 47-year-old farmer prepares to fight for ...

Recommended for you

Water fleas prepared for trip to space

34 minutes ago

Local 'Daphnia' waterfleas are currently being prepared by scientists at the University of Birmingham for their trip to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will be observed by astronauts.

The worst trip around the world

49 minutes ago

As you celebrate the end of the year in the warmth of your home, spare a thought for the organisms riding with a third-class ticket on the International Space Station – bolted to the outside with no protection ...

Image: Multicoloured view of supernova remnant

50 minutes ago

Most celestial events unfold over thousands of years or more, making it impossible to follow their evolution on human timescales. Supernovas are notable exceptions, the powerful stellar explosions that make ...

Ultra-luminous X-ray sources in starburst galaxies

54 minutes ago

Ultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs) are point sources in the sky that are so bright in X-rays that each emits more radiation than a million suns emit at all wavelengths. ULXs are rare. Most galaxies (including ...

When a bright light fades

1 hour ago

Astronomer Charles Telesco is primarily interested in the creation of planets and stars. So, when the University of Florida's giant telescope was pointed at a star undergoing a magnificent and explosive death, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.