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Rare sea otters spotted near Cannon Beach

On June 28, 2024, a pair of sea otters were spotted at Ecola Point in Cannon Beach. (Courtesy of Chanel Hason)

On June 28, 2024, a pair of sea otters were spotted at Ecola Point in Cannon Beach. (Courtesy of Chanel Hason)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – In a rare occurrence, two sea otters were spotted swimming and foraging in the waters near Cannon Beach Friday afternoon.

Volunteers with the Elakha Alliancea nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting sea otters, has spotted the first otters at Ecola Point. The otters are believed to have swum south from the Olympic coast in Washington, where about 2,000 sea otters currently live.


According to the nonprofit organization, the sighting is particularly significant because sea otter populations have not been seen on the Oregon coast since the animals were hunted down for their fur in the early 20th century.

In addition, according to the organization, it is more common for five to six decomposing sea otters to wash ashore each year, making the sighting of two healthy, living otters in this area even more significant.

“We are thrilled to report this rare and wonderful sighting,” said Jane Bacchieri, executive director of the Elakha Alliance. “It highlights the resilience of sea otters and the possibility of their return to the Oregon coast. This event also underscores the importance of ongoing conservation efforts for our coastal marine ecosystems.”

The Elakha Alliance also encourages the public to report any sea otter sightings to support efforts to reintroduce the species to the region.

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