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California Sea Otter Tax Fund Struggling
Last year, animal aficionados in California donated over $350,000 to sea otter conservation research through the voluntary tax check off. This year taxpayers must earmark at least $273,025 in donations to keep the fund on the state income tax form in 2014. So far, contributions are lagging behind the goal.
“The fund supports critical research projects, so we hope Californians will come through once again as the tax deadline approaches,” said Andrew Johnson, manager of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Research and Conservation program.
The money raised by the fund – just over $1.75 million in the past six years – supports researchers and agencies working together to aid the recovery of the California sea otter and understand the impacts threatening their survival, including infectious disease, oil spills, limited food supplies and degradation of coastal waters where otters live.
“It’s easy and as little as $1 from each taxpaying Californian would go a long way to helping sea otters,” said Jim Curland, advocacy program director, Friends of the Sea Otter. “The California Sea Otter Fund is a way that Californians can be a part of contributing to sea otter research and conservation efforts that can help recover the southern or California sea otter.”
During the final month 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. The minimum voluntary contribution is $1, and there’s no upper limit.
“With cuts to many wild animal research programs, the funding generated through taxpayer contributions has become vital in our quest to save sea otters,” said Johnson. “Even in tough economic times, Californians have demonstrated their willingness to help this iconic species.”
Californians who have already filed their income taxes but who would like to donate to sea otter research can visit www.montereybayaquarium.org and use the “Save the Oceans” link to support the aquarium’s many efforts.
The current sea otter population remains well below the 3,090-animal threshold required to consider moving sea otters off the threatened species list. The 2,700-plus sea otters in the wild are an estimated one-fifth of the historic population.
To learn more about the California Sea Otter Fund tax check off visit Friends of the Sea Otter.
Friends of the Sea Otter is committed to and advocates for the conservation of sea otters and the preservation of their habitat through education, research, and policy decisions that will ensure the long-term survival of this species.
The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the oceans.
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