Sea otters have been missing from Oregon’s ecosystem for 110 years, but that is only a fraction of the amount of time they thrived here. One of the Elakha Alliance’s tasks is to advance the understanding of Oregon’s former sea otters, from before recorded history through to today. We invite you to review this in-depth article about the history of sea otters in Oregon and their strong cultural ties to coastal tribes.

More about Oregon's sea otter legacy

Shared Waters

Otters and Oregon Coast Tribes

For thousands of years, sea otters were an important part of the culture of the many peoples who inhabited Oregon’s coast. Information from tribal people and academic researchers helps inform our understanding of their former ecological role. Learn more…


The Maritime Fur Trade, 1741 - 1910

Oregon’s sea otters disappeared in flash of destruction, as one small part of an ocean-spanning fur boom driven by demand for their lush pelts. The commercial trade began in the 1700s and by the late 19th century effectively wiped out sea otters across much of the Pacific Rim, including Oregon. Learn more…

A Brief Return

Translocations, 1970 - 1971

Translocations from the Aleutian islands briefly brought otters back to Oregon, and many other parts of their former range. For reasons we still do not fully understand, the translocations failed in Oregon. Learn more…