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Just one week after being named by the community, Sanctuary Sam's life is in jeopardy

Only a week ago, sea lion defenders named him Sanctuary Sam. ( http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2009/03/388722.shtml.) Before that, the public knew him, if they knew him at all, as just a number. C586. But some of us knew him better.
Sanctuary Sam in Astoria, just a short time ago
Sanctuary Sam in Astoria, just a short time ago
Sam has been present on the Columbia for several years, at least. I've watched him thrill tourists in Astoria with his powerful voice and his friendly manner. He routinely sits on the dock there, with his head leaned back in the classic "circus seal" pose, basking in the sun. But when people call out to him, he cocks his head to the side, opens his huge eyes, and looks at them curiously. If they continue to talk to him, he eventually opens his mouth and barks chattily back. He's always been extremely gregarious that way.

I've also seen this guy swirling through the waters near St Helens, often happily laying on his back with his flippers in the air, talking to anyone who will listen. Many of us on the river know him. He belongs out here. And he deserves to live a free and wild life, as do all of the Columbia river sea lions.

If this neighbor of ours is executed by the State, I do not think I can ever forgive the fishermen who clog the waterways and kill all the salmon, whose voices have called for this to happen.

What 03.Apr.2009 08:48

Working Class Mama

What's happening to Sam? Many readers may not know.

Details soon to come 03.Apr.2009 11:06


Thanks for asking, WCM. Sam was apparently slated to die today, but he and four others may have received a reprieve. SLD Brigadiers are working furiously right at this very moment to save Sam and the others. More details soon to emerge.

Sanctuary Sam is dead. 03.Apr.2009 17:42


ODFW is now stating that they have executed all but one of the sea lions in their custody.

The one animal left alive is likely C657, "Willy," an animal that the State has been holding without authority. They were put on notice earlier today by the Sea Lion Defense Brigade and In Defense of Animals that we have proof that they do not have the authority to kill this animal. They know we are correct, and they know we have enough evidence to fry them. This may be what saved this animal.

On the other hand, given the state's lies, incompetence and cover-ups so far, there is a strong possiblity that Willy, Sam, and all the other animals were already dead before they even realized they had the wrong animal. The state has been changing its story for days, with media stories appearing that the animals were all dead, that no, they were all alive, that some were dead and some alive, and etc. We belive they may have killed all of the animals before they were notified by sea lion advocates that one of the animals they were holding is not even on the list of animals that they are authorized to kill. Even now, they are refusing to allow anyone access to see the animal who is alive, they are refusing to provide the brand numbers of the animals they have killed, and they may very well be off trying to quickly brand another animal C657 before anyone finds out that they erroneously executed a sea lion that they had no authority to kill.

In any event, at least 5 of the 6 animals trapped two days ago are dead tonight.

May those responsible for these deaths be held... so very, very accountable.

This should never have happened 03.Apr.2009 20:28

An I for an I

"May those responsible for these deaths be held... so very, very accountable."


I'm really pissed about this. Something must be done. Now, before they kill again.


Please join us April 16th to demand an end to the killing 04.Apr.2009 11:52

sea lion advocate

We are shocked at the news that these animals have been put to death, especially since the state lied to us throughout the day, assuring us that the animals would not be killed.

This makes it even more urgent that we end the killing, before any more blood is spilled.

Please join advocates on Thursday, April 16th, on a road trip to Salem to visit the ODFW headquarters, and then to speak with elected officials. We are taking the bus called cool, and there is room for 25 people on the bus. If you would like a seat, please contact In Defense of Animals at (503)249-9996, or email Matt Rossell at  matt@idausa.org.

who exactly are these 04.Apr.2009 17:48


killers? Name and shame.

Killers 04.Apr.2009 18:33


The agencies responsible are:

The Army Corps of Engineers. They began setting the stage for the scapegoating of sea lions after the public began discussing the breaching of dams. They are the ones who have been presenting data alleging that sea lions are causing a "significant impact" on salmon. ...At the same time their own dam project is assassinating tens of thousands of salmon per year.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). These fucking assholes are nothing but KILLERS. They kill EVERYTHING THEY TOUCH. They kill cougars, bears, bobcats, coyotes, sea lions, and every other natural predator in order to allow their pet constituents -- hunters and fishermen -- more access to killing all the prey species. THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). These are the same fucking assholes as above, only on the other side of the state line. These are also the ones paying the marksmen.

National Marine Fisheries Association (NMFS). This is the agency that set fishing quotas higher and higher and higher each year, and then granted the states permission to kill sea lions for eating "too many fish." A very small percentage of the number of fish that are killed by fishermen, I quickly add.

NOAA. This is the Federal agency under which NMFS (above) operates. They had the ultimate say in whether sea lions could be killed and they let it happen. They could stop this, but have not.

CRITFC. They, along with ODFW and WDFW, support killing sea lions in order to fill fishermen's nets with yet more endangered fish.

Congressman Doc Hastings (R-WA). A first-class asshole who has been pushing to kill sea lions as part of his grandstanding effort to court fat-assed fishermen in his district. Aside from the section 120 waiver, this shithead is pushing for a bill to make it even easier to kill protected mammals.

Representative Brian Baird (D-WA). Same as above. SHITHEAD.

The corporate media. For NEVER FUCKING ASKING A GODDAMN QUESTION, for printing EVERYTHING that the PR fuckwipes from ODFW tell them, for being such ignorant dumb asses that they do not even know that sea lions are native to the Columbia, and that predators are an integral and necessary part of any healthy ecosystem. For IGNORING the impact that dams, fishing, and bad management have had on salmon, while at the same time REPEATEDLY using words like "voracious" and "salmon-gobbling" and "predatory" to refer to sea lions over the top of images of sea lions eating their natural diet, which were provided to them by the ODFW.

FISHERMEN. For being greedy, drunken, stupid, fucking SHITHEADS calling for the death of sea lions so that they can avoid addressing their own MURDEROUS behavior that is driving salmon to extinction. Also, for SHOOTING AND KILLING hundreds of sea lions a year.

YOU, if you have done nothing so far to STOP THE KILLING. SPEAK UP. DO something.

To "named:" 05.Apr.2009 03:12


I share your anger, believe me. I hope those fuckers get the same treatment they dish out to the animals. No one deserves mercy who can't give it helpless and innocent others. I hope they wake up at night in pain for the agony they have caused animals, and worse. I also hope U.S. meat eater faces the dark stain on their conscience - there's no "I didn't know" excuse anymore to justify a murderous dietary choice.

But I don't know what to do that could be effective. I feel hopeless that the legal battles have been lost and that it seems as though we're fighting these huge entities, and a "could give a shit" public. Politicians don't care what a group of animal rights activists have to say. The meat eating public ultimately just wants to eat their fish.

I will go on the 16th if it might actually do some good.

to ? 05.Apr.2009 19:07


Yes! It will be great to have you along. Please email  matt@idausa.org, or call (503)249-9996 to reserve a seat on the bus if you would like to ride with us. Thanks!

++++ RUSSIA BANS SLAUGHTER OF BABY SEALS ++++ 06.Apr.2009 15:46

good news

cofused about sanctuary sam 09.Apr.2009 10:09

rainbows and butterflies

I am confused about sanctuary sam. Columbiana reported on April 3rd that he had been killed and now a report comes out today that he is alive. Why has it taken the sea lion defense brigade a week to discover that sanctuary sam is really alive and going to a zoo?

Confusion Alleviated 11.Apr.2009 18:00

sea lion brigadier

The reason for the confusion is this:

The State usually does not inform the public which animals it is killing and which it is not. We often have to find that out through other means. Last week, six animals were trapped, of which we knew that Sanctuary Sam was one. We also knew that the beloved friends, C578 and C579 were among the trapped. The following day, the ODFW reported that one sea lion, C669 (whom they initially mis-identified as C699) had been killed. The day after that, they reported that four more were either dead or about to be executed. Since we knew that C657 was most likely still alive, then it followed that, since the rest had been killed, Sanctuary Sam must be among them. However, if the State is to be believed at this point, they "only" executed four of the six, not five, so that Sam and Willy survived. The other four were put to death, including two animals who had been seen and photographed only the weekend before, and were obviously in excellent health.

I know, it is confusing. We will do our best to let you know what we know, as soon as we know it.

To be honest, we do not really know whether Sam lives at this point or not, since there have been so many discrepancies between the State's story and reality. (For example, they initially told us that C657, Willy, was on their hit list. It took SLD brigadiers to discover that he was not, in fact, on their list. They then changed their story to say that he was really B127....) Since none of us has actually seen Sam, or Willy, alive at this point, we can only go by what we have been told.

All we can really say, at this point, is that it *appears* that Sam is still alive and on his way to the Gladys Porter zoo in Texas, after a period of quarantine at the Point Defiance zoo in Tacoma. Of course it would be very bad PR for them to have killed their own mascot, an animal who stars in NOAA PSAs teaching children not to hurt wildlife.... So either they spared him to prevent that bad PR, or else they are just saying that they have. It will be interesting to see, if and when he ever shows up in a Texas zoo, if it is really him.