For Immediate Release: Contact: Matt Rossell—IDA 503-890-5151
April 1, 2009
Eight sea lions trapped today, six are on government 'hit list' and could be killed
Including one that was named "Sanctuary Sam" by advocates in honor of the California Sea Lion mascot for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Portland Ore.—This morning, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) trapped eight California Sea Lions, six of which—C554, C586, C578, C579, C657, and C699—were identified on the government's list who they have authority to kill under Section 120 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act because they were observed for eating salmon. ODFW reported that the six sea lions will undergo health checks and the other two sea lions have be branded, acoustic monitoring devices attached and were released.
One of the sea lions slated for death or permanent captivity is C586, an individual that sea lion advocates have been observing for years and named "Sanctuary Sam" after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's live sea lion mascot. Ironically, NOAA, which has played a strong role in moving forward the plan to kill sea lions at the Bonneville Dam, actually uses a live sea lion named Sanctuary Sam, as their mascot. In an online video, children picked Sanctuary Sam to be the Head of the National Ocean Awareness Campaign. Other videos on their site are designed to teach children about various topics, including not harming wildlife. Two other beloved sea lions trapped today have been long observed and photographed by members of the public.
"C578 and C579 have a long-standing social relationship that has persisted for many years. I've spent a lot of time on the river, and have always observed these two together. They swim together, they play together, they bask in the sun together, and now they may die together," said Bethany O'Driscoll, plaintiff in Humane Society of United States case against the government sea lion killing. "These are animals that I have gotten to know, who are intelligent with complex relationships and I am horrified that our government is scapegoating them at the same time fishing quotas have been raised."
Jerry Stone, General Curator of the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville Texas, said that they were looking to take "four or five" sea lions—not six—so regardless of how healthy the trapped sea lions, at least one will soon be killed. The zoo is looking for young, healthy sea lions and does not want to take ones that are too fat.
"It is a tragedy for these sea lions, whether they are killed or put into permanent captivity," said Matt Rossell NW Director of In Defense of Animals, "Reducing a magnificent wild California Sea Lion who migrates thousands of miles a year to a small pool is no life."
Advocates wishing to protect salmon and sea lions are very concerned about the continued trapping, relocating and killing of California Sea Lions in what they call a misguided plan that fails to address the real issues that face salmon recovery, over-fishing, habitat destruction and dams.