Subject: Info: sea otter news (fwd)

Michael Williamson (pita@whale.simmons.edu)
Wed, 24 Jul 1996 09:06:43 -0400 (EDT)

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J. Michael Williamson
   Wheelock College
   Principal Investigator-WhaleNet <http://whale.simmons.edu>
   Associate Professor-Science
voice: 617.734.5200, ext. 256
fax:    617.566.7369

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996 13:07:45 EST
From: Dagmar_Fertl@smtp.mms.gov
To: Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
Subject: sea otter news

      Otters rebound, no longer endangered


     MONTEREY, Calif., July 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
     Service is considering removing the Southern sea otter from the
     federal list of endangered species because the critter's survival is
     no longer threatened, officials said Friday.

     But environmentalists warn that one bad oil spill could still wipe
     out most of the population.

     As the first step toward removing the otter from the federal list
     in 1999, wildlife officials are proposing a hands-off management of
     the otter and a discontinuation of projects that promote the animal's
     reproduction, said agency spokeswoman Susan Saul.

     The proposal says "basically it's time to stand back and let the
     sea otters expand," Saul said.

     The otters once populated the West Coast by the thousands, but
     hunters seeking their pelts had diminished their population to only a
     few hundred survivors by the turn of the century, prompting lawmakers
     to ban otter hunting starting in 1911.

     When the federal Endangered Species Act was passed in 1977, the
     otters were listed as threatened with about 1,700 animals. Since then,
     however, their numbers have grown to 2,400.

     A hearing was held Thursday in Monterey to solicit public comment
     about the otter's fate and the agency will receive written comments
     into September, Saul said. All the input will be taken into
     consideration as wildlife officials work on a revision of the otter's
     protection plan.