We assessed the original and recent distribution of sea otters (Enhydra lutris) along the coast of Hokkaido, Japan, based on information of remains from archeological sites, old hunting records, and records of recent sightings obtained from interviews. Some remains, including pups from one archeological site, suggested the possibility that some small aggregations had historically been distributed around Hokkaido. However, sea otters seem to have disappeared prior to commercial hunting in the 18th and 19th centuries, as no records could be found documenting the hunting of otters around Hokkaido during that period. Since 1973, intermittent sightings of otters have been made around Hokkaido, and since 1996, the sighting frequency has increased. Between 1962 and 2001, 119 sightings and six dead otters were recorded around Hokkaido. The source population of these otters is probably in the Habomai Islands of the southern Kurils. However, due to increasing anthropogenic habitat disturbance, it is unlikely that a stable habitat for sea otters can be established in the coastal waters of Hokkaido.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 30 • No. 1