Deaths of four otters have California scientists worried. Here’s why
Deaths of four otters have California scientists worried. Here’s why – San Francisco Chronicle (tiered subscription)
Four sea otters found dead along the California coastline were killed by a toxic parasite that has never been detected in an aquatic animal, scientists reported Tuesday. DNA testing by a team of scientists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and UC Davis found that the otters had contracted an extremely virulent strain of toxoplasmosis, a disease carried by a microscopic parasite. The scientists warned that since the four otters died were found separately from one another over a two-year period, it could be an indicator of a threat to other marine wildlife and even humans, as the parasite makes its way up the food ladder.