Kachemak Bay sea otters have been struggling this year, with more than 200 found sick or dead along the bay's beaches.
"Similar cases in the past have been linked to streptococcus-related illnesses," the Alaska SeaLife Center and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wrote in a release.
Now, in a multi-agency effort with the SeaLife Center, Fish and Wildlife, Alaska Veterinary Pathology Services and the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, experts are focusing their efforts on finding the cause.
In the release, the agencies said the recent deaths and sickness could significantly affect the population.
If you find a sea otter on the beach, the release said, call the SeaLife Center's 24-hour hotline at 1-888-774-SEAL. Otters are aquatic by nature and spend very little time on shore.
"If a sea otter is found on the beach, it is likely to be sick or injured and should not be approached," the release said.
Alaska Dispatch Publishing