Southern sea otters play a key role in maintaining ocean ecosystems. But once numbering in the hundreds of thousands, these iconic creatures have been in danger ever since they were nearly hunted to extinction as a result of the fur trade in the 1700s and 1800s.

Now, the Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that it will consider removing the otters’ endangered status and the protections that come with it, even though scientists say these cuddly creatures are not out of the woods just yet.

The ocean depends on otters — and right now, otters are depending on us. Donate today to power our campaigns to protect these iconic creatures.