California sea otter population is down after a record-high count

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Posted by on July 06, 2005 at 16:45:55:

The number of California sea otters dropped 3.2 percent from last year's record high, officials said Tuesday.

Scientists counted 2,735 sea otters from May 6 to June 16, down from 2,825 in 2004, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

"Despite the dip in this year's tally, the latest three-year running average of the three most recent spring counts is up 8 percent over the previous average," said Brian Hatfield, a USGS biologist.

The information gathered from the surveys is used by federal and state wildlife agencies in making decisions about the management of otters, which are listed as a threatened species under federal law. The three-year average must reach 3,090 for three straight years for the California sea otter to no longer be considered "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.

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