An imperiled species, California sea otters continue to struggle due to myriad factors, including poor water quality and a growing human population along our coasts. With support from the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, Defenders of Wildlife is working to protect the struggling sea otter population on California's Central Coast by promoting better water quality in nearshore waters and involving the public in recovery. Targeted public education efforts include the annual "Sea Otter Awareness Week" celebrations and partnership development with residents, businesses and other stakeholders. Not only are these efforts benefiting the humans who utilize the Central Coast for recreation and commercial fishing, but this work is also directly benefiting sea otters and the diversity of marine wildlife that depend on the coastal ecosystem for food and habitat.
A 501 (c)(3) non-profit private foundation, the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund focuses its resources in four strategic areas: Species Research, Habitat Protection, Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation, and Conservation Education. Since its launch, the Fund has granted $5 million to more than 350 projects in 60 countries. The Fund's grantees are diverse, including global organizations such as World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, and Conservation International along with smaller, grassroots organizations.