Fashion: Return of the Sea Otter

One of the world's rarest furs is the North Pacific sea otter, for the simple reason that except for an occasional poacher's pelt, none has been available for more than half a century. Lustrous dark brown and noted for their durability and warmth, sea-otter skins were prized by Russian czars even above sable. Chinese mandarins heaped huge rewards on Siberian seamen daring enough to cross the Bering Strait and trap sea otters in the Aleutians. But two centuries of intensive hunting brought the near extinction of the species. By 1912, when Russia, Canada and Japan joined the U.S....