During the fur trade of the 18th century, sea otters were a prime target for hunters because of their thick coats. Sadly, they were hunted to the point of near extinction, with only approximately 1,000 to 2,000 remaining by the early 20th century. Though they are still considered an endangered species, sea otters have made a vast recovery with the help of conservation efforts, and today, 100,000 to 150,000 sea otters are protected by law. Modern threats to the sea otter population include oil spills, larger predators like killer whales, pollution, and poaching. History has proven, however, that the sea otter is one resilient animal, and with a little help from their human friends, perhaps one day, our seas will abound with these furry survivors.