A sea otter (Enhydra lutris) has been sighted and photographed recently in Depoe Bay. This is the first confirmed sighting (with photographs) of a sea otter on the Central coast in many years. Although we frequently receive reports of sightings of otters on the coast, most of these are in fact river otters (Lontra canadensis), a much more common species that lives primarily in fresh water habitats but frequently ventures into the marine environment as well.
It appears that this animal is a wanderer from either California or Washington waters. Whether or not it remains in Oregon, or is a lone wanderer, are open questions. Only time will tell.
This picture was taken on February 18, 2009 by Morris Grover, of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department's Whale Watch Center in Depoe Bay.