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Spike in sea otter harassment causes U.S. Fish & Wildlife officials to issue warning

A significant increase in people disturbing sea otters has caused the United States Fish & Wildlife Service to issue a reminder to stay away.The increase is from the now world-famous Otter 841 in California. The female otter skyrocketed to stardom after videos of her climbing on and biting surfboards went viral. For the past month, FWS has tried and failed to capture 841. Ashley McConnell, the public affairs supervisor for FWS, told sister station KSBW that the attempts to capture 841 will continue as long as the otter poses a threat to the public or herself. The capture attempts, which have gone on for 29 days, could take several days or weeks longer.Video below: Otter aggressively steals surfboard in Santa Cruz watersRecently, ocean-goers in California have been approaching and disturbing resting sea otters with personal watercrafts like jet skis.In a statement released Monday, FWS warned that the extra attention could be lethal to the endangered sea otter population. Resting otters need to conserve energy to make sure they can raise their young. If otters expend too much energy on human disruptions, the result could be fatal.Sea otters consume roughly 20-30% of their mass in food just to meet daily energy needs. The iconic look of an otter floating on its back is because they need to rest for a significant portion of their day.FWS has released the following recommendations for safe sea otter viewing:Be alert for any nearby marine life.Keep a safe distance away from marine life (at least 60 ft.).Go slowly in areas that sea otters frequent.Do not feed sea otters.Keep pets on a leash.

A significant increase in people disturbing sea otters has caused the United States Fish & Wildlife Service to issue a reminder to stay away.

The increase is from the now world-famous Otter 841 in California. The female otter skyrocketed to stardom after videos of her climbing on and biting surfboards went viral. For the past month, FWS has tried and failed to capture 841.

Ashley McConnell, the public affairs supervisor for FWS, told sister station KSBW that the attempts to capture 841 will continue as long as the otter poses a threat to the public or herself. The capture attempts, which have gone on for 29 days, could take several days or weeks longer.

Video below: Otter aggressively steals surfboard in Santa Cruz waters

Recently, ocean-goers in California have been approaching and disturbing resting sea otters with personal watercrafts like jet skis.

In a statement released Monday, FWS warned that the extra attention could be lethal to the endangered sea otter population. Resting otters need to conserve energy to make sure they can raise their young. If otters expend too much energy on human disruptions, the result could be fatal.

Sea otters consume roughly 20-30% of their mass in food just to meet daily energy needs. The iconic look of an otter floating on its back is because they need to rest for a significant portion of their day.

FWS has released the following recommendations for safe sea otter viewing:

  • Be alert for any nearby marine life.
  • Keep a safe distance away from marine life (at least 60 ft.).
  • Go slowly in areas that sea otters frequent.
  • Do not feed sea otters.
  • Keep pets on a leash.
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