PETERSBURG, AK Scientists studying sea otter populations in Southeast Alaska hope to have a new estimate of the number of animals in the region out by this time next year. Aerial surveys of otters in the southern Panhandle this past summer show a 13 percent annual growth rate for the reintroduced mammals and researchers say otter numbers there have doubled since the last survey was completed seven years ago. Meanwhile, other research continues on the otters’ diet and how that may be impacting shellfish species caught by commercial fishermen.
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