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The Mustelid Appreciation Thread

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Not everyone is appreciative of mustelids...


Alaskans make new push to kill more sea otters, saying they’re decimating Southeast shellfish




"Southeast Alaska's clams, urchins and crabs have fueled lucrative fishing industries and fed hungry families for decades.

They also feed sea otters.''

And now, that human dependence on shellfish is clashing anew with a successful, state-sponsored restoration program that brought the marine mammals' population back from near extinction a century ago.

The long-running conflict between otter conservation and Southeast fishermen and tribal groups has drawn new attention this year. State lawmakers and other policymakers have drafted letters asking the Trump administration and a Republican-controlled Congress to loosen federal otter protections, and to grant local managers more power to cull the animals and leave more urchins, clams, crab and sea cucumbers for humans."




"The roots of the present conflict reach back to the mid-18th century, when Russian explorers found otters in the Aleutian Islands. The Russians harvested thousands of otters a year, selling their furs largely to Chinese markets.

By 1900, there were small numbers of otters left in just 13 places in Russia, Alaska and California. An international treaty in 1911 allowed some populations to rebound, but into the 1950s, they were gone from Alaska's Southeast coast.

In the 1960s, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game began a transplant program to a half-dozen Southeast sites. The idea, Estes said, was both to restore the species to its former habitat and to give residents opportunities to sell furs.

The 400 otters came mostly from Amchitka Island in the Aleutians, where the federal government was doing underground nuclear tests."


TLDR: It's all the fault of the Russians.


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“We know that fishers are very opportunistic,” he says. “They are just a ball of fury.”



At this point, piecing together the evidence was a little like forensic anthropology at a crime scene. They would try to find the legs and various parts of the cat—especially the neck and head, which could show bite marks as evidence of a fisher kill and rule out the possibility that the weasel just stumbled across a lynx who had recently died.


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