On Monday, a live, stranded sea otter was reported at the south end of Manzanita Beach. This is the first live sea otter the Seaside Aquarium has ever responded to, Tiffany Boothe of the Seaside Aquarium said.
The otter was lethargic and showed signs of possible neurological issues, she said. The otter was transferred to the aquarium and then to a rehab center up in Washington, but failed to survive. While a necropsy is yet to be performed, it is thought that the animal was suffering from a protozoal infection.
Sea otters were once quite common off the Oregon Coast but as a result of intense hunting from the fur trade, they were wiped out and pronounced extinct in the early 1900s, Boothe said. Previous efforts to reintroduce sea otters on the Oregon Coast have failed but there is a group currently working on a plan to once again reintroduce sea otters to Oregon. Sea otters reside in Alaska, California and Washington state.