Sea Otter, © Roy Toft / National Geographic Stock

Check a Box, Save a Sea Otter

The tax deadline is looming, but there’s still time for Californians to help make a difference for threatened sea otters by donating as little as $1 to the California Sea Otter Fund on their state tax forms.

Though they once numbered in the hundreds of thousands, today there are fewer than 2,800 sea otters along the California coast. And with continuous threats of being poisoned by oil spills or other pollution, these charismatic critters are struggling to make a comeback.

In these tough economic times, donations that go to provide vital research dedicated to helping sea otters survive are more important than ever. That’s why Defenders worked with California lawmakers to establish the California Sea Otter Fund, giving California taxpayers the opportunity to contribute to the recovery of these animals just by entering $1 or more on line 410 of their California state tax form.

Each year, the Franchise Tax Board sets a target amount that the program has to raise in order to be on the form again the following year. For the last six years Californians have dug deep and donated enough for the tax check-off to return. This year, the tax check off must raise $273,025 — so if you’re in California, as you finish filling out your tax forms this year don’t forget about our furry aquatic friends.

2012 was a better year than usual for California’s sea otters, with the spring census showing a slight increase in the total population for the first time in four years. In December, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also officially abandoned their failed no-otter zone, allowing sea otters to expand their natural range to California’s southern waters without the threat of being moved back north across an invisible line in the Pacific Ocean. Between pollution and disease, sea otters still face many serious challenges, but with your help we can work to keep them on this path to recovery.

blog_adopt_seaotterClick here to find out more on sea otter conservation and Defenders’ work with the California Tax Check-off.

Not in California? You can still help save sea otters by adopting one of these marvelous marine mammals. Not only will you be sharing your appreciation for this imperiled species, but you’ll also be helping to support Defenders’ work on their behalf. Click here to visit our Wildlife Adoption Center.