The first two sea lions were captured today in the joint Oregon and Washintgon sea lion killing program, with one being euthenized shortly after capture. The sea lions are being targeted because they eat salmon.
The animal was given a health exam when a veterenarian noticed a potentially contagious wound and decided to euthanize the it. Some captured animals may be placed in zoos or aquariums, but since very few such vacancies exist, many of the sea lions will be killed.
While fishermen take 12 percent of the endangered salmon run each year, it’s estimated that sea lions only eat between .4 and 4.2 percent. Media inquiries as to why commercial fishermen haven’t been forced to cut their take have essentially gone unanswered.
The Oregon and Washington Fish & Game Departments have also made it clear that the media is not welcome in the trapping areas, giving safety concerns as an excuse. Despite this, activists are attempting to document any sea lion kills by organizing a coastal watch.
If you live near the Bonneville Dam, you can contact In Defense of Animals at 503-249-9996 or the Sea Lion Defense Brigade at SeaLionDefenseBrigade@lists.riseup.net to join the coordinated effort to document the killing for the public to see.
Oddly, while their Norther neighbors spend money to kill the same animals, California is offering a $2,500 reward for anyone who has information that leads to the conviction of those responsible for the shooting of five sea lions.Photo Credit: mikebaird on Flickr under Creative Commons license.