Alaska's sea otters being killed in high numbers by orcas, report says
A report by government scientists says killer whales are likely driving sea otters to perilously low levels in southwest Alaska.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's recovery plan for sea otters considered a slew of possible reasons for why the animals are in steep decline.
The report says there is only one threat considered to have high importance, and that's predation by killer whales. Nearly all other factors, including climate change and effects from humans, were considered to have low importance.
The report also says it's unlikely that attacks by killer whales can be managed in such a way as to help the sea otters recover.
The animal was listed as threatened in 2005.
-- Associated Press
Photo: A sea otter eats shellfish in Monterey Bay, Calif. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times