Wed 17 December 2008 15:20 UK — North America,Marine Wildlife
A US federal body has proposed to protect 6,000 miles of habitat belonging to an endangered population of northern sea otters.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has suggested that the area located around Alaska’s south-west coast, which is currently home to around 90 per cent of the state’s otters, should be regarded as a “critical habitat”.
By designating this area as “critical” for the development of an endangered species, federal agencies will be required to ensure that any activities in the area do not harm the sea otters.
Brendan Cummings, oceans programme director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said: “While today’s proposal is an important step in preventing the extinction of sea otters in southwest Alaska, it does not go far enough to ensure their eventual recovery.”
Northern sea otter populations are less than half 1970 estimates, with around 40,000 surviving in the wild today.
News brought to you by International Animal Rescue, leaders in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.