Because of their exquisite fur, Alaskan sea otters were nearly wiped out in the early 1900’s by Russian and American hunters.  A treaty in 1911 saved them from extinction, but now, sea otters are once again disappearing from Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, and there is no clear reason why.  According to the Environmental News Network, there were over 100,000 Alaskan sea otters in the 1980’s, but their numbers fell by more than three-quarters over the last decade.  Some researchers believe the cause may be contaminants in the water, or killer whales now hunting them, but with sea otters an important part of that icy food chain, here’s hoping scientists can find a solution to this not-so-playful mystery about otters.

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