The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jim Curland, 831-726-9010

Despite Population Decline, 2009 May Be Still a Good Year for Sea Otters

Seventh annual Sea Otter Awareness Week kicks off September 27



* The California sea otter Spring 2009 population census
indicates a decline in the three-year population average for the first
time in nearly a decade.
* Concerns over the decline have researchers and the conservation
community urging the U.S. Senate to pass the Southern Sea Otter
Recovery and Research Act, which was overwhelmingly approved by the
House earlier this summer.
* Despite the economic downturn, sea otter tax check-off donations were
high enough this year for the check-off box to reappear on the state
income tax form in 2010.
* 7th annual Sea Otter Awareness Week events and activities underscore
the important conservation work being done to keep California's most
charismatic critter on the road to recovery.

MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 25, 2009) -- California's coastal mascot, the
southern sea otter, is riding a tide of popularity this week as cities
across the states to locales as far-flung as Melbourne, Australia
spread the word about sea otter conservation.

Defenders of Wildlife marine program associate Jim Curland hopes that the 7th annual Sea Otter Awareness Week (Sept. 27- Oct. 3) will be the best yet. And he believes that the week's festivities will help inspire American's to support the Southern Sea Otter Recovery and Research Act, recently approved by the U.S. House of Representatives:

"The sea otter faces challenges on their road to recovery,
especially in parts of Alaska and in California. It is inspiring to
observe such widespread national and international attention and
participation in sea otter conservation through Sea Otter Awareness
Week and specifically for the California sea otter to see federal
legislation heading to the Senate.

"Sea Otter Awareness Week is about informing people of the threats
that sea otters still face and engaging concerned citizens on what they
can do to help sea otters make a thriving comeback. As this special
event continues to broaden its appeal nationally and internationally,
it demonstrates how public education can make a difference in the
understanding of the plight of sea otters and the need to recover their
populations and the public can make a huge difference."

Sea Otter Awareness Week 2009 begins on Sept. 27 and goes
through Oct. 3. There will be a series of free public talks and other
events in the Monterey Bay area, as well as in San Mateo, Morro Bay,
Santa Barbara and Ventura, and in Alaska. Aquariums and zoos throughout
North America will participate in up-close educational activities,
including special showings of the film, Precipice of Survival: The Southern Sea Otter, produced by the U.S. Geological Survey, which will be held at a variety of locations.

Defenders of Wildlife has partnered with sea otter researchers,
marine institutions, museums, aquariums and zoos, and many others to
show the integral role they play in the coastal marine ecosystem, and
this year's seventh annual celebration of Sea Otter Awareness Week
promises to reach even more people than ever. Elected officials from
cities throughout California, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Canada
have also officially proclaimed Sea Otter Awareness Week.

Get the details about events in your area
Learn more about the film: Precipice of Survival: The Southern Sea Otter.
Read about the Southern Sea Otter Recovery and Research Act.

Defenders of Wildlife is the premier U.S.-based national conservation organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of imperiled species and their habitats in North America.

(202) 682-9400