Sea Otter Recovery Threatened by Pollution, Researchers Say

Disease-causing agents and toxic chemicals running off the U.S. West Coast may be killing hundreds of southern sea otters each year in the prime of their lives, scientists say.

Sea otters normally live for about 15 years, but large numbers of dead breeding-age animals have been reported.

Some scientists believe the contaminants suppress sea otters’ immune systems, making the creatures more susceptible to infectious diseases.