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Reestablishing Sea Otters to Southern California

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Date: September 17, 2010
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

A special lecture on efforts to reestablish sea otters to southern California will be given by Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement senior marine biologist, Greg Sanders, as part of Sea Otter Awareness Week.

In addition to assessing the success of recovery efforts, Sanders will analyze the likelihood of whether sea otters could independently return to the region. He will also identify actions individuals can do to promote a healthier marine environment for overall sea otter recovery.

Since 1997, the southern sea otter has been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Sea otters historically were found across the north Pacific, from the northern island of Japan to Baja California. A lucrative fur trade began in the 18th century and reduced the California sea otter population from approximately 16,000 sea otters to as few as 50 individuals by 1911. Currently over 2,500 sea otters live primarily north of Point Conception along the central coast of California.

Sanders graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1983 with a degree in aquatic biology. Between 1987 and 2003 he coordinated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service southern otter recovery and translocation program. Since 2003, Sanders has worked as a senior marine biologist for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.

The lecture will occur at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 28, 2010, at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center located at 1901 Spinnaker Drive in the Ventura Harbor. The program is free and open to the public.

Did You Know?

Island night lizard                                     C. Drost

The only reptile found on Santa Barbara Island is the endemic and threatened island night lizard. These lizards can live up to 20 years or more, but once established in a territory generally remain within a 3-meter radius their entire life.