A recent series of studies on tagged sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) challenges the hypothesis that sea otters are sentinels of a dirty ocean, in particular, that pet cats are the main source of exposure to Toxoplasma gondii in central California. Counter to expectations, sea otters from unpopulated stretches of coastline are less healthy and more exposed to parasites than city-associated otters. Ironically, now it seems that spillover from wildlife, not pets, dominates spatial patterns of disease transmission.
|Title||Sea otter health: challenging a pet hypothesis|
|Authors||Kevin D. Lafferty|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Western Ecological Research Center|