Science News

What’s killing sea otters? Parasite strain from cats

By Marshal Hedin from San Diego - Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris), CC BY-SA 2.0,

Science Daily

Many wild southern sea otters in California are infected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, yet the infection is fatal for only a fraction of sea otters, which has long puzzled the scientific community. A new study identifies the parasite’s specific strains that are killing southern sea otters, tracing them back to a bobcat and feral domestic cats from nearby watersheds.