Historically, the sea otter was found in coastal areas throughout the North Pacific (6). Sea otters can still be found in much of this former range although numbers are greatly reduced and populations fragmented (6). Three subspecies are currently recognised: the southern, or California sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis), occurs from California to Mexico; the northern, or Alaskan sea otter (E. l. kenyoni), is found along the northwest coast of North America and into Alaska; and the Russian sea otter (E. l. lutris) occurs in the western north Pacific (7). Alaska plays host to possibly as much as 90 percent of the world population of this species (6).
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