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The skull of a sea otter (Enhydra lutris) lies in the moss of an unnamed island in the Beardslee Islands of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Sea otters, a keystone species of the North Pacific, were almost entirely eliminated by commercial fur hunters in the early 1900s. While they received wildlife protection in 1911, it wasn’t until the early 1990s that sea otters were observed to inhabit Glacier Bay for the first time. As the most abundant marine mammal in Glacier Bay, current estimates put the number of sea otters at 8,000. While orcas are the primary predator of adult sea otters, newborns are preyed upon by bald eagles. Sea otters are positively impacting the kelp forests as the otters protect the kelp forests from excessive grazing by the sea otters’ prey.
Glacier Bay National Park is located in southeast Alaska. The park is also an important marine wilderness area known for its spectacular tidewater glaciers, icefields, and tall coastal mountains. The park, a popular destination for cruise ships, is also known for its sea kayaking and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Glacier Bay National Park is home to humpback whales which feed in the park's protected waters during the summer, both black and grizzly bears, moose, wolves, sea otters, harbor seals, steller's sea lions, and numerous species of sea birds.
The dynamically changing park, known for its large, contiguous, intact ecosystems, is a United Nations biosphere reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Sea otter skull-2.jpg
- © John L. Dengler
- Image Size
- 8256x6192 / 24.5MB
Alaska America Beardslee Islands Department of the Interior Enhydra lutris GLBA Glacier Bay Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve NPS National Park Service North America U.S. US USA United States United States of America animal animals carcass fauna horizontal mammals otter outdoor outdoors outside protected land sea otter skull southeast Alaska wilderness wildlife
- Contained in galleries
- Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska