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C. A Center for Oiled Otters

Narrator: This is Science Today. After the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, scientists in California realized that otters there were vulnerable to a similar spill. So a center for oiled wildlife has been created at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Marine scientist Steve Davenport says the center can care for all animals, but will focus on California's 2,000 otters.

Davenport: And the range is small enough that it could be affected -- the entire range could be affected -- by a single spill. In fact, the Exxon Valdez spill was large enough to cover almost double the range of the California sea otter.

Narrator: Davenport says one of the main questions researchers will try to answer is whether to even rescue oiled otters. In Alaska, very few rescued animals survived.

Davenport: Little is known. There are lots of opinions around there, lots of people have strong feelings and that sort of thing, but a lot of research hasn't been done on that, and that I think is one of the things that really needs to be addressed, and that this station will provide a place and a focus of people to do that sort of thing.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.