By John R. Platt | Takepart.com
This southern sea otter is settling down to rest in a small patch of Egregia feather boa kelp. Image: Lilian Carswell/USFWS
It's hard to imagine that an animal as wonderful as the California sea otter almost disappeared from the planet.
Once upon a time, tens of thousands of sea otters floated and swam off California's coast. But the fur trade in the 18th and 19th centuries took care of that, nearly wiping out the subspecies, and many people believed that it had gone extinct. But all of that changed in 1938 when the last raft—or group—of around 50 sea otters were found alive and well near the Bixby Canyon Bridge in Big Sur.
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