Return of the Sea Otter: The Story of the Animal That Evaded Extinction on the Pacific Coast (Paperback)
Mention sea otters to any group of people and the word “cute” is going to enter the conversation. But for all their popularity, not much is known about their behavior and role in the Pacific Coast ecosystem. Return of the Sea Otter aims to solve this deficiency in knowledge. Todd McLeish spent more than three years researching sea otters and offers an in-depth natural history in this book. Tracing their story from pre-fur trade days, through their near-extinction, and into the present, McLeish's book delights and fascinates! -Justus— From Spring Booknotes 2018
A science journalist's journey along the Pacific Coast from California to Alaska to track the status, health, habits, personality, and viability of sea otters--the appealing species unique to this coastline that was hunted to near extinction in the 18th and 19th centuries. These adorable, furry marine mammals--often seen floating on their backs holding hands--reveal the health of the coastal ecosystem along the Pacific Ocean. Once hunted for their prized fur during the 1700s and 1800s, these animals nearly went extinct. Only now, nearly a century after hunting ceased, are populations showing stable growth in some places. Sea otters are a keystone species in coastal areas, feeding on sea urchins, clams, crab, and other crustaceans. When they are present, kelp beds are thick and healthy, providing homes for an array of sealife. When otters disappear, sea urchins take over, and the kelp disappears along with all of the creatures that live in the beds. Now, thanks to their protected status, sea otters are making a comeback in California, Washington, and Alaska.
About the Author
Todd McLeish is a science writer with three published books, all on natural history topics: Narwhals, Basking with Humpbacks, and Golden Wings and Hairy Toes: New England Wildlife. He is a popular public speaker on cruise ships and at museums and environmental centers and has published articles on wildlife topics in Earthwatch Journal, Bird Watcher's Digest, WildBird, and Natural New England, among other publications.