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Sea Otters in Your Backyard

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Date: September 27, 2007
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

Marine biologist Greg Sanders will be a guest speaker for a special lecture as part of Sea Otter Awareness Week 2007. Sanders will offer a history of sea otters along the California coast including their brush with extinction, current threats, and recovery efforts.

Sanders’ presentation, Sea Otters in Your Backyard, will also provide information about the recent return of southern sea otters to portions of their historic range in Southern California waters. The southern sea otter has been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act since 1977.

Sea otters historically were found from southern Alaska to Baja California. Before commercial hunting in the 18th century, approximately 16,000 sea otters lived in California. By 1914, the California population had declined to about 50 individuals. Currently, approximately 2,700 individuals occur primarily north of Point Conception in Central California.

Mr. Sanders graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1983 with a degree in aquatic biology. In 1987 he was hired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to coordinate the southern otter recovery and translocation program. After nearly two decades of working with sea otter issues, Sanders recently joined the Minerals Management Service as the Pacific Region’s marine mammal and seabird biologist.

The lecture will occur at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 29, 2007, 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 deer mouse

The endemic island deer mouse is the only native terrestrial mammal common to all the Channel Islands and is larger than mainland deer mice. Densities of deer mice on the islands can be greater than anywhere else in the world. This makes you happy if you're an owl, but not if you're a camper.