Fur-tastrophe Avoided: Southern Sea Otters by Jeanette Leardi


Leardi, Jeanette. Southern Sea Otters: Fur-tastrophe Avoided. Bear Claw, 2021 (reprint). ISBN ‎ 978-1636910550. 24 pp. $10


Written in an engaging narrative, Leardi draws the reader in with a scientist’s account of discovering this thought-to-be-extinct species. She backtracks to provide a little history, discussing the hunting of otter for fur that made southern sea otters believed to be gone forever. An explanation of subsequent efforts to such up a refuge along the California coast and the passing of laws enacted to protect sea otters from hunting and fishing, follows. Leardi brings the reader up to present day, when the largest threat to marine life is pollution, especially oil contamination. The final pages include a fact sheet on southern sea otters, and a page or two on other endangered sea animals. The narrative is uncommonly well written for an animal nonfiction book designed for school reports, with appeal for browsing readers as well.

Full color photos–at least two in each two page spread–catch sea otters at play, researchers checking the animals, and images of beach cleanups and sea otter predators. An excellent map shows the habitat of the species in the past and present. 

Words that may be unfamiliar appear in boldface and are defined, with pronunciations, in a glossary. The index is complete in scope, photo credits are listed, and there is a  brief bibliography and list of further reading. Recommended for large collections, or where reports on endangered species are de rigueur.

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