Meet Theo

Meet Theo,
your newest partner!

Help him save the coastal water of Alaska.

Sea otters are a keystone species, meaning their role in their environment has a greater effect than other species.

As predators, sea otters are vital in maintaining the balance of the shoreline kelp. Without sea otters, sea urchins would devour the kelp forests off the coast that provide cover and food for many other animals. Sea otters also help to reduce levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, as kelp forests play an important role in capturing carbon in coastal ecosystems.

Sea otters finally gained protections with the signing of the International Fur Seal Treaty of 1911 and became listed under the Marine Mammal Protection and Endangered Species Acts in the 1970s. Worldwide, numbers have slowly recovered but still stand far below original population numbers. While sea otters are vulnerable to natural predators, their populations are significantly impacted by several human factors as well.


Humans are the biggest threat to sea otter populations. Direct conflict with humans, such as shootings and entrapment in fishing traps and nets pose a major threat to sea otters, but oil spills, other pollution, and loss of kelp forests are also threatening sea otters.


LATIN NAME: Enhydra lutris
SIZE: California sea otters 45 - 65 pounds and Northern sea otters can reach up to 100 pounds.
LIFESPAN: 10 - 20 years

Range & Population

Sea otters live in shallow coastal waters off the northern Pacific. In the U.S., there are two distinct sea otter subspecies, the Northern sea otter and the Southern sea otter. Historically, sea otters numbered between several hundred thousand to more than a million. The southern sea otter population today is just over 3,000 in California.


Sea otters eat urchins, abalone, mussels, clams, crabs, snails and about 40 other marine species. Sea otters eat approximately 25% of their weight in food each day to support their high metabolism.