Questions and Answers: In-Depth Responses
I am trying to find more information on current efforts to reintroduce sea otters along the Oregon Coast, whether there is a plan in place and what sorts of resources this plan would require. I am wondering if reintroduction could be aided by an on-site education/research facility which could simultaneously provide income to struggling coastal communities. Most research articles I've found on the subject of reintroduction are several years old, so I would appreciate any current information you might be able to direct me to. Thank you very much.
Katie Lockard, 20th March 2007
Response from Angela Doroff, Sea Otter Representative
I am currently the sea otter representative to the Otter Specialist Group. To my knowledge, there are no current plans for re-introducing sea otters to the Oregon coast. It is a fairly expensive process and it hard on the animals. Sea otters are very social animals and have defined home ranges; when translocated, they will often disperse great distances to return to their point of capture or other distant locations. The most recent relocation of sea otters has been in California and involved translocating sea otters from the leading southern edge and central portion of the range to San Nicholas Island. There was done as a compromise with the Shellfish Industry (the plan called for an otter free zone south of Pt. Conception). The process was quite political and was on the verge of being declared a failure at several points. Many sea otters dispersed widely from the area but a small number have remained.
As far as sea otter re-introduction providing economic income from outreach education facilities - well that hasn't been managed to date (usually it creates more conflict in the local economies) but that doesn't mean it couldn't with the right people involved. Though the articles you have likely found are dated - the basics are much the same.
Response provided 9 April 2007