All of our Coverage From the 2019 Sea Otter Classic. ©2020 Regents of the University of California. Sexual Violence Prevention & Response (Title IX). // Jessica Saavedra The 3-year average counts are used by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in its listing determinations (de-listing or up-listing) for this legally threatened population. Sources: Doroff, A. Early accounts by Spanish explorers noted otter populations as far south as San Jose and as far north as Richardson Bay. The surface canopies of kelp (predominantly, Annual California Sea Otter Census: 2019 Census Summary Shapefile, Annual California Sea Otter Census: 2019 Extra Limit Observations Shapefile, Annual California Sea Otter Census: 2019 Range Extent Shapefile, Click on title to download individual files attached to this item, Annual California sea otter census - 2019 spring census summary.xml, Build Version: 2.169.0-62-g42d95ae-0 Today the population hovers around 3,000 individuals, with a large segment of that population in Central California waters. Known as a sprawling and energetic “celebration of cycling,” Sea Otter is cycling’s North American season opener. Now that they are rebounding, they’re surprising us by demonstrating how adaptable and cosmopolitan they really are.”, While conservation efforts have focused on protecting otters in these rocky coastal habitats, evidence shows that southern sea otters were once abundant in California estuaries, including in San Francisco Bay. Southern sea otters, also called California sea otters, live in waters along the California coastline, ranging from San Mateo County in the north to Santa Barbara County in the south. This “may be an artifact of where the surviving population persisted,” they concluded in their paper, titled “Species recovery and recolonization of past habitats: Lessons for science and conservation from sea otters in estuaries.”, “The dogma, widely reinforced in both the scientific and popular media, is that sea otters do best in saltwater kelp forests,” said Brian Silliman, Rachel Carson associate professor of marine conservation biology at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and a partner in the study. San Francisco Bay could act as a haven for California’s threatened southern sea otters and could potentially triple the existing population, according to a new study led by Sonoma State University. “Sea otters probably numbered in the thousands in this estuary prior to being driven to local extinction by over-hunting,” the researchers noted. Thanks to conservation efforts, the population has since grown to more than 3,000, but their numbers are still far below their historic numbers and range. In fact, a new study released today concludes that California could more than triple its population of southern sea otters, from an estimated 3,000 to nearly 10,000, by repopulating the largest estuary on the coast—the San Francisco Bay. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T7750A21939518. Overall viewing conditions this year were very good, better than those encountered during the 2018 spring census (View Score = 3.0 this year compared to 2.4 last year, where 0=poor, 1=fair, 2=good, 3=very good, and 4=excellent). The conservation and management of sea otters has benefited from a dedicated research effort over the past 60 years enabling this species to recover from a few thousand in the early 20th century to about 150,000 today. 2015. The spring 2019 mainland sea otter count began on May 1 and was completed by July 9. Overall viewing conditions this year were very good, better than those encountered during the 2018 spring census (View Score = 3.0 this year compared to 2.4 last year, where 0=poor, 1=fair, 2=good, 3=very good, and 4=excellent). One of the few wildlife species well-adapted to urban environments, otters are popular enough in the Garden City to be featured in David Attenborough’s Wild City documentary about Singapore in 2015, as well as in BBC Earth’s Wild Cities in 2019. Sea otters first became protected from the fur trade by the International Fur Seal Treaty in 1911, after the population had decreased to about 2,000 as a result of unrestrained hunting for furs. Professional and amateur athletes alike make the annual pilgrimage to Sea Otter to participate in some of the sport’s most competitive and enduring events. Hughes said one of the reasons otter habitat has remained fragmented and why sea otters have not been able to migrate north and reestablish residency in San Francisco Bay is the presence of great white sharks near the Golden Gate. Hughes did pioneering research on the ecological role of sea otters in Elkhorn Slough as a graduate student at UC Santa Cruz, where he worked with Tim Tinker and Kerstin Wasson, both coauthors of the new paper and adjunct professors of ecology and evolutionary biology at UCSC. “For the conservation of the sea otter, this would be huge.”, Elkhorn Slough’s protected habitats provide a special haven for sea otters, as well as remarkable opportunities for studying them,” said Wasson, who is research coordinator for the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. Brent Hughes, assistant professor of biology at Sonoma State, is the lead researcher in a new study concluding that California could more than triple its population of southern sea otters. | Jan 29, 2019 | sea otters. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Western Ecological Research Center of the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Park Service, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Hakai Institute, San Francisco State University, San Diego State University, California Polytechnic State University, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, and Duke University. Using existing studies and modeling of sea otter growth, the researchers concluded that the San Francisco Bay could support about 6,600 sea otters, more than twice the current estimated population of 3,000. The picture of sea otters frolicking among kelp beds and rocky shoals has become an iconic image of the California coastline. Although these data and associated metadata have been reviewed for accuracy and completeness and approved for release by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the display or utility of the data on any other system or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty. CALIFORNIA SEA OTTER POPULATION ANNUAL SURVEY – survey history and methodology . Overall viewing conditions this year were very good, better than those encountered during the 2018 spring census (View Score = 3.0 this year compared to 2.4 last year, where 0=poor, 1=fair, … & Burdin, A. by Davis et al. Study finds California could triple southern sea otter population by recolonizing San Francisco Bay . But if otter populations were established inside San Francisco Bay and out of the range of great whites, they would become the top predator and would likely thrive. By Gear Patrol. How do otters survive in a highly urbanised city state like Singapore? “It would essentially end up lifting the sea otter out of its endangered species status,” said Brent Hughes, assistant professor of biology at Sonoma State and lead author of the study published in PeerJ: the Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences. probably numbered in the thousands in this estuary prior to being driven to local extinction by over-hunting,” the researchers noted. Even though they are still listed as endangered species, thankfully, the numbers of these adorable creatures have now rebounded to reach 125,000.