Earlier this month, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) announced (pdf) the availability of its recovery plan (pdf) for the threatened southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment of the northern sea otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni). The recovery plan describes the status of the otter, its history, and a number of actions the Service believes will allow for the delisting of the otter. With respect to the otter’s declining status, the recovery plan states that "[t]he only identified threat factor that is judged to have a high importance to recovery is predation[,]" and the weight of the evidence suggests that killer whale predation is the most likely cause. As for the otter’s recovery, the recovery plan identifies three general objectives to achieve delisting, and explicit criteria for determining when each objective has been achieved.