California Sea Otter Tax Fund Struggling

Share Article

Economic downturn puts a dent in contributions vital to their recovery

A sea otter mother and pup pair in the wild. (c)1999 Doc White

This fund is too important to sea otter conservation to let go. Past contributions show that Californians love their sea otters. We hope they can really rally together this year.

Last year, animal aficionados in California donated over $245,000 to sea otter conservation research when filing their state income taxes. But this year taxpayers must earmark at least $258,563 in donations to keep the fund on the state income tax form in 2011. And so far contributions are lagging behind the goal.

“We actually fell short of the target amount last year, and donations to the fund so far this year are about 75 percent of last year’s total,” said Andrew Johnson, manager of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Research and Conservation program. “The fund supports critical research projects, so we hope Californians will come through as the tax deadline approaches.”

If the fund misses its target again, it is likely to be dropped as an option for taxpayer donations in coming years. The money raised by the fund – nearly $750,000 thus far – supports researchers and agencies working together to understand the impacts threatening the survival of California sea otters and to find ways to bring the population back.

In 2009, the three-year average sea otter population was just 2,813 animals – well below the 3,090-animal threshold required to move sea otters off the endangered species list.

“Last year, our sea otter population faced its first decline in the three-year average in over a decade,” said Jim Curland, marine program associate for Defenders of Wildlife. “This fund is too important to sea otter conservation to let go. Past contributions show that Californians love their sea otters. We hope they can really rally together this year.”

Heading into the final days before the income tax deadline of April 15, Californians can support efforts to save this keystone species by contributing to the California Sea Otter Fund (Code 410) on their state income tax form.

There’s no upper limit to the amount taxpayers can designate for sea otters, starting from a minimum contribution of $1. All contributions through the tax form are voluntary. Californians who’ve already filed their income taxes but who would like to donate funds can visit http://www.montereybayaquarium.org and click on the “Save the Oceans” link to support the Aquarium’s many efforts to save sea otters.    

The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the oceans.

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, it’s a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come.

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Angela Hains

Monterey Bay Aquarium

831-648-4922
Email >
Visit website