I'm doing some research for my latest wip (see charity call in yesterday's post on my author blog) and I've decided to do a weekly "animal awareness" post every Thursday on my blog. Animals are the burden of my heart. They always have been, but truthfully, the older I get, the less I am able to do physically.

That makes me sound like I'm 80! It's just, when I was in my 20s I worked with marine life rescue groups. I used to foster dogs and cats from the local no-kill shelters. I've always volunteered at the local zoo and always had a small zoo of rescued animals personally, but I'm just seriously finding it harder to do as much as I used to and it left me feeling very depressed.

Then I realized, I have a voice now! It may not be Oprah Winfrey, but I do have readers and I do have people coming by my blog every day. So I'm going to dedicate Thursdays to my beloved animals I hope you will indulge me.

One of my favorite animals ever, is the otter, so this first post is dedicated to them. I hope you come away more aware and more compassionate, but regardless, thanks for reading.

In 1750, thousands of sea otters lived and foraged along the California coast. Then fur hunters began killing them for their warm, luxurious pelts. By the early 1900s, only about 50 otters along the isolated Big Sur coast had escaped the slaughter. Today's southern sea otters are descendants of those few survivors.

With conservation efforts, the sea otter population has slowly grown to around 2,000, but that number has remained fairly stable for the past few years. Scientists are trying to determine the reasons for the recent lack of growth in the population. These recent growth trends and our lack of understanding about their causes mean an uncertain future for the California sea otter population.

Although their numbers have increased, sea otters still face serious risks: oil from a single tanker spill near San Francisco or off the central coast could wipe out the entire California sea otter population.

For more information and fun facts about otters, please visit my author blog today at www.samanthalucas.com/blog Thanks ;-)