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Mortality trends in northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) collected from the coasts of Washington and Oregon (2002–15)

February 9, 2018

During 2002−15 we examined the causes of mortality in a population of northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni). Beachcast sea otters were collected primarily from the coast of Washington. Although there are no permanent sea otter residents in Oregon, several beachcast otters were collected from the Oregon coast. Infectious diseases were the primary cause of death (56%) for otters we examined. Sarcocystosis was the leading infectious cause of death (54%) and was observed throughout the study period. Some infectious diseases, such as morbilliviral encephalitis and leptospirosis, were documented for a limited number of years and then not detected again despite continued testing for these pathogens in necropsied animals. Trauma was the second most common cause of death (14%) during the study period. The continued stable growth of the Washington population of otters suggests they are able to tolerate current mortality rates.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2018
Title Mortality trends in northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) collected from the coasts of Washington and Oregon (2002–15)
DOI 10.7589/2017-05-122
Authors C. LeAnn White, Emily W. Lankau, Deanna Lynch, Susan Knowles, Krysten L. Schuler, Jitender P. Dubey, Valerie I. Shearn-Bochsler, Marcos Isidoro Ayza, Nancy J. Thomas
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Series Number
Index ID 70195354
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wildlife Health Center