The sea otter population along the Southern California coast was reduced by maritime hunting in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries but not entirely driven to extinction. Based on historical sources and archival newspaper accounts, the authors have devised a conservative estimate of otter hunting activity between 1855 and 1908 and determined where hunting was concentrated. Conservation efforts in the Progressive Era and the 1970s and a translocation program in the late twentieth century have resulted in a limited population resurgence.

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