Sea otters are listed as an endangered species because they are vulnerable to oil spills from ships and coastal tanker traffic. They also have a reduced population size, which puts them in danger of becoming extinct. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, sea otters have been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1977. They are also protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.Know More
According to Defenders of Wildlife, a wildlife charity organization, sea otters are endangered because they were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1700s and 1800s. Sea otters once numbered in the hundreds of thousands, but fur traders hunted them in large numbers and, consequently, reduced their population size. The International Fur Seal Treaty of 1911, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act of 1977 helped stop the sea otter population from dwindling. However, the sea otter population has been slow to recover.
In addition to oil spills, sea otters also face other human threats. For example, sea otters sometimes get caught in fishing nets and traps. They eat many of the same types of shellfish that humans like to eat, such as sea urchins, lobsters and crabs. As a result, some fisherman view sea otters as competition and set traps in which they become entangled and drown. These incidents, however, are occurring less frequently due to the various endangered species acts that protect the species.Learn more about Mammals
There are 13 documented species of otter, 12 of which had declining populations in 2015 and five of which were listed as endangered due to drops in population and destruction of habitat. Exact figures on how many otters still live in the wild across all continents and all species are not readily available as population groups are not uniformly or continuously monitored.Full Answer >
River otters have specialized senses to deal with their environment, including good vision and sensitive whiskers as well as the ability to stay submerged in water for minutes at a time. When they aren't hunting, they like to play with each other.Full Answer >
As of 2014, the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources gives platypuses the classification of least concern, which means they are not endangered. Platypuses have been a protected species in their native country of Australia since 1905, and remain common in eastern Australia. Possible threats include entanglement in fishing equipment and habitat loss due to degradation of river flow.Full Answer >
As of 2014, koalas are not listed as endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. However, koalas are suffering lower populations from loss of habitat and predators. Past hunting of koalas for food and the fur trade also led to smaller populations of koalas.Full Answer >