Return of the Sea Otter: The Story of the Animal That Evaded Extinction on the Pacific Coast

Return of the Sea Otter: The Story of the Animal That Evaded Extinction on the Pacific Coast

by Todd McLeish


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A science journalist's journey along the Pacific Coast from California to Alaska to track the status, health, habits, personality, and viability of sea otters—the appealing species unique to this coastline that was hunted to near extinction in the 18th and 19th centuries.

These adorable, furry marine mammals—often seen floating on their backs holding hands—reveal the health of the coastal ecosystem along the Pacific Ocean. Once hunted for their prized fur during the 1700s and 1800s, these animals nearly went extinct. Only now, nearly a century after hunting ceased, are populations showing stable growth in some places. Sea otters are a keystone species in coastal areas, feeding on sea urchins, clams, crab, and other crustaceans. When they are present, kelp beds are thick and healthy, providing homes for an array of sealife. When otters disappear, sea urchins take over, and the kelp disappears along with all of the creatures that live in the beds. Now, thanks to their protected status, sea otters are making a comeback in California, Washington, and Alaska.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781632171375
Publisher: Sasquatch Books
Publication date: 03/20/2018
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 544,862
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 15.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Todd McLeish is a science writer with three published books, all on natural history topics: Narwhals, Basking with Humpbacks, and Golden Wings and Hairy Toes: New England Wildlife. He is a popular public speaker on cruise ships and at museums and environmental centers and has published articles on wildlife topics in Earthwatch Journal, Bird Watcher's Digest, WildBird, and Natural New England, among other publications.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Chapter 1 Keystone Species 1

Canton, China

Chapter 2 Opposition 19

Big Sur, California

Chapter 3 Catch and Release 37

Monterey, California

Chapter 4 Shifting Paradigm 51

Santa Cruz, California

Chapter 5 Surrogate Mothers 69

Cannery Row, Monterey, California

Chapter 6 Stranded 85

Homer, Alaska

Chapter 7 Necropsy 97

Anchorage, Alaska

Chapter 8 Cucumbers and Geoducks 115

Prince of Wales Island, Alaska

Chapter 9 Significantly Altered 131

Sitka, Alaska

Chapter 10 Crash 147

Aleutian Islands, Alaska

Chapter 11 Translocation 169

Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Chapter 12 Walter 189

Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Chapter 13 Gaining Ground 209

Moss Landing, California

Acknowledgments 225

Selected Bibliography 229

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