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Sea otters poisoned by bacteria

Some sea otters along California's coast are being poisoned by an ancient microbe that appears to be on an upsurge in warmer, polluted waters around the world.

The discovery was made by Melissa Miller, a state wildlife veterinarian and scientific sleuth investigating the multitude of things killing otters faster than they can reproduce.

The population of southern sea otters has dropped for two years in a row, the U.S. Geological Survey announced last month. An estimated 2,711 otters remain in Central and Southern California waters.

The first clues about this most recent threat came when nearly a dozen otters mysteriously died in Monterey Bay in 2007. Their carcasses were taken to the California Department of Fish and Game laboratory in Santa Cruz, where Miller and others do postmortem analyses. That's where Miller made her discovery.

Read more on sea otters and the deadly microbe poisoning them.

-- Kenneth R. Weiss

Comments () | Archives (4)

Why does NO ONE comment on these creatures? I for one care about them.I'm glad someone is discovering why they are diminishing.

Why does NO ONE comment on these creatures? I for one care about them.I'm glad someone is discovering why they are diminishing.

Hooray for Ms Miller. I appreciate her dedication and hard work in the cause of protecting vulnerable species from extinction and I am thankful for the breakthrough of her recent discovery. Hopefully this will put science on track to come up with possible remedies for the otters' predicament and that of many more species I am sure will become victims of similar situations as climate changes and oceans warm and become more acidic.

It's not down to humans to protect every maladjusted creature on the planet

Adapt and survive, or die

There are plenty of ways the otters could have adapted, for example by moving into colder waters
No need to stay in a place where tons of your progeny is dying


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