Sea otters returned briefly to the Oregon coast in the early 1970s when nearly 100 animals captured in the Aleutian Islands were released at Cape Arago (40 animals in 1971) and Port Orford (29 animals in 1970, 24 animals in 1971).
Some animals appear to have soon left the area of their release, while others did not. Even though pups were subsequently reported in some places, the entire population of animals declined dramatically by 1975 and disappeared by 1981 for reasons that are still not well understood. Sea otters remain absent on the Oregon coast except for an occasional stray individual, perhaps from the Washington population.
During this same time period of 1969 – 1972, other sea otters were captured in the Aleutian Islands and relocated to the coasts of Washington, British Columbia, and southeast Alaska, forming the basis of populations that exist today.
Learn about Sea Otters Beyond Oregon