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Sea otter health: challenging a pet hypothesis

July 1, 2015

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.

Publication Year 2015
Title Sea otter health: challenging a pet hypothesis
DOI 10.1016/j.ijppaw.2015.05.005
Authors Kevin D. Lafferty
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife
Index ID 70154789
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center