Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Skinned Sea Otter Found in San Luis Obispo County
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Officials Seek Information to Aid in Investigation

October 18, 2017

Contact(s):

Media Contacts:
Ashley Spratt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Ashley_spratt@fws.gov, 805-677-3301

Mike Harris, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Michael.D.Harris@wildlife.ca.gov, 805-772-1135




Southern sea otter images available for media: https://flic.kr/s/aHsjDh2fwN

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) are looking for information regarding the death of a southern sea otter and the illegal removal of its pelt in late September 2017.

The sea otter was found dead and skinned on Arroyo de la Cruz Beach in San Simeon on September 26.  Southern sea otters are protected as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act and are considered depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They are also protected by California state law.  Killing a southern sea otter is punishable by up to $100,000 in fines and a possible jail sentence. Removal and subsequent possession of the pelt without a permit is also illegal, even if the sea otter was already dead when found.

Initial necropsy results indicate that the sea otter was a young adult female. The carcass had been skinned and the remains scavenged by animals and insects prior to collection. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory is conducting a thorough examination to aid in the investigation.

Southern sea otters, also known as California sea otters, were listed as threatened in 1977.  Southern sea otters once occurred in areas well outside of California, but currently range from San Mateo County in the north to Santa Barbara County in the south, with a small subpopulation around San Nicolas Island in Ventura County.

Anyone with information about this or any sea otter takings should contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at the CalTIP line at 1-888-334-2258 (callers may remain anonymous) or a Special Agent of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 916-569-8444.

Anyone who finds a dead or injured sea otter in California should leave it in place, take a photo if possible, and report it immediately to CDFW at 805-772-1135.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

The mission of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is to   manage California's diverse fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public. For more information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/

                                                                                                   -FWS-


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.