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Spike in dead sea otters…more observers see more or real issue?

10/11 Peninsula Daily News Spike in dead sea otters catches wildlife officials’ attention By Rob Ollikainen Peninsula Daily News PORT ANGELES —

A recent spike in dead sea otter sightings has caught the attention of wildlife officials, but they say that the 12 sightings on the Washington coast in the past month could simply be the result of more witnesses. Scores of volunteers have been combing the beaches to find sick or dead sea birds affected by a brown algae bloom that caused the death of hundreds of scoters in mid-September. Scientists believe a soap-like substance from the algae stripped the birds’ feathers of a protective oil that makes them water repellent, causing them to die of hypothermia. Deanna Lynch, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist, said there is no proof that the sea otter strandings have anything to do with the algae bloom. More at

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