Sea otters resting. Hunted almost to extinction in the 1800’s sea otter populations rebounded after international agreements placed a ban on hunting. 40% of the population was killed in the immediate aftermath of the Valdez spill. Continuing studies of mortality and birth rates suggest that relatively poor survival of otters is directly related to chronic exposure to hydrocarbons from the oil still remaining in the area. The population is slowly increasing but is still less than half of pre-spill rates.
The Kennecott Mine buildings.