I would like to report that the remaining sea lions have received a temporary reprieve, but I cannot: There is no telling how many more will be found bleeding in the water, victims of fanatical fishermen and human aggression. Meanwhile, officials weigh the options for next year, and a court battle continues. Since the hunting and trapping has been ended for this year, the hearing scheduled for later this week in the 9th circuit court of appeals to determine the status of the injunction against shooting has been canceled. However, the legal fight is far from over.
The plan to trap and shoot sea lions has been halted for this season, but the specter still looms on the horizon for next unless we can stop this madness for good. To that end, the Humane Society of the United States, the Wild Fish Conservancy, and two individual plaintiffs will continue to press on with their lawsuit, declaring the killing to be illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
On a related side note, three of us spoke with an Army Corps of Engineers volunteer yesterday, and learned that the day before the sea lions were killed in their traps was a banner day for the salmon. Even with sea lions out in the river, approximately ten thousand fish went through the dam in a single day. Interestingly, the number of salmon had been lower than expected... until the fishing was halted on the Columbia. Since then, many more fish have been making it past the dam. Once again, clear evidence that it is not the sea lions whose predation is destroying the salmon runs.
If you can get to the Columbia, please watch the sea lions' backs. There are some dangerous, creepy people out there.