Mysterious Great White Shark Attacks on Sea Otters Surge
So many juvenile great white sharks are biting—but not eating—sea otters that scientists say the phenomenon could slow the marine mammals’ recovery.
In the 1930s, a century after the fur trade nearly wiped out California's iconic sea otters, a few dozen stragglers were discovered swimming below the rugged crags of Big Sur, south of Monterey Bay. So it was fitting that on Thanksgiving Day in 2008, biologist Tim Tinker rappelled down one of Big Sur's steep cliffs and kicked a boogie board into the harrowing surf to try and unravel the mystery behind the newest threat to these marine mammals.
Tinker was there to retrieve the carcass of a dead otter, which he hauled up to the mainland in a dank backpack. An investigation would later reveal that the otter, like hundreds before and hundreds more since, had been the victim of