What is the California Sea Otter Fund?
The California Sea Otter Fund is a "check-off" donation program placed on the 2007 California income tax forms. Through this mechanism, taxpayers may choose to donate to research studies dedicated to protecting the Southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis).
Members of the public who wish to participate when filing their California taxes (Form 540) check the box on line 60, CA Sea Otter Fund. The funds are distributed via a scientific proposal process to researchers, including veterinary scientists at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
To remain on the tax form in future, the fund must raise at least $250,000 in taxpayer donations by April 15, 2008 through the check-off program.
California sea otters face many threats. Disease and parasites, possibly linked to coastal pollution, are contributing to the decline of the sea otter population, and oil spills remain a serious threat. Drs. Patricia Conrad, Jonna Mazet, Christine Kreuder Johnson and Woutrina Miller at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine have investigated the impacts of parasites such as Toxoplasma gondii, infectious disease, cardiomyopathy and the effects of oil spills on sea otters.
The contributions help support research aimed at benefiting the threatened sea otter population in California.
To learn more about sea otter research click on http://www.seaotterresearch.org/.