Mother Nature News: Famous sea otter dies, legacy lives on.
Since Toola's arrival, the aquarium has also assigned other sea otters to foster orphaned pups, something no one knew was possible before she did it. And this legacy remains important for her species, which is struggling in many places despite decades of rescue efforts. Decimated by fur trading in the 19th century, sea otters rebounded after a 1911 hunting ban, but their comeback has been incomplete, with only about 2,700 now in California — down from an estimated peak of 16,000. A record-high 335 California sea otters were found dead, sick or injured in 2011, about 15 percent of which likely died due to shark bites, the U.S. Geological Survey reported last month. The other reasons for this decline aren't entirely clear, but many scientists point to coastal pollution, including