Columbia River sea lion removals are delayed by HSUS appeal
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2008:
PORTLAND, Oregon– The National Marine Fisheries Service and
the Oregon and Washington state governments on April 1, 2008 agreed
to postpone killing or capturing California sea lions downstream from
the Bonne-ville Dam on the Columbia River, pending a U.S. District
Court ruling on a motion for a preliminary injunction against the
proposed removals, filed on March 28 by the Humane Society of the
“State officials have put out the message to zoos, aquariums
and theme parks that they need homes for sea lions,” reported
Michael Milstein of the Oregonian.
“The first preference is to ship trapped lions to a captive
facility,” Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife marine mammal
program chief Robin Brown told Milstein. “If no one wants the
animals after 48 hours, they would then be killed.”
Busch Entertainment Corp-oration overseer of zoological
operations Brad Andrews told Milstein that Sea World would accept a
dozen sea lions. St. Louis Zoo curator Steve Bircher would also take
The Oregon and Washing-ton governments, with support from
the Idaho state government and Native American tribes, in 2006 asked
that up to 85 sea lions per year be killed or removed from the waters
below the Bonneville Dam for at least five years, to help the
recovery of Columbia River salmon runs.
“The states estimate the sea lions eat up to about 4% of the
spring chinook run as it schools at the base of the dam to pass
through fish ladders en route to upriver spawning grounds,”
explained Joseph B. Frazier of Associated Press.
California sea lions, almost extinct in the mid-20th
century, now number about 240,000, and are no longer officially
endangered or threatened, but are still covered by the Marine
Mammals Protection Act of 1972.