At least two more sea lions put to death on the Columbia
At least two more sea lions have been murdered on the Columbia. One of them was trapped more than 140 miles from Bonneville dam, on the Oregon coast, in Astoria. We do not have details on which animals have been killed, as the ODFW chose not to inform the public of the killings until this afternoon -- yet again waiting until Friday afternoon just as they were on their way out of the office for the evening before informing the people who pay their salaries that they have killed again.
The sea lions have mostly moved away from the dam now, and have not been hauling out into the traps. It was hoped that the killing might be over for the spring, but instead the trapping and killing has moved down to the mouth of the river. As the ODFW website explains, "Operations will continue at both Astoria and Bonneville Dam, but with California sea lions beginning their seasonal migration downriver biologists have shifted additional resources to Astoria."
Three animals were trapped at Bonneville yesterday, with one being killed.
It is unclear, at this time, whether the animal from Astoria that was killed was trapped on Monday or Wednesday, or whether there is another animal who is being held from Astoria. According to the ODFW, a sea lion was trapped there on Monday, and was transported to Bonneville for the obligatory "health assessment." However, the ODFW web site is reporting that an animal trapped in Astoria on Wednesday was killed. So either there are two Astoria animals, or else they have reported the dates incorrectly.
Sadly, the Army Corps of Engineers has been passively blocking SLDB attempts to monitor the observers at the Dam, and to view the observation records. For more than a week, brigadiers have been requesting to see documents relating to the identification of sea lions at the dam, and to monitor the observers whose notes put each sea lion onto the death list. So far, the ACoE has not complied with the requests, despite assurances from Robert Stansell of ACoE, under oath and in a courtroom, that we could "come on out any time and look at the documents." So we do not know which animals have been killed, nor do we have any assurance that the animals that were killed were correctly identified. Just as Willy, a sea lion captured earlier this year, was incorrectly believed by the ODFW to be on their hit list, it is possible that the animals killed this week were also mis-identified. There is no public accountability with this project, and we are growing weary of government claims that they "know almost exactly what they're doing."
Once again, we are asking for volunteers to step forward who would like to assist with monitoring. It seems that the killing has not ended for the year after all. We particularly need people to be watching the river at Bonneville dam, and down in Astoria at the sea lion haul out. If you would be interested in helping with this, please contact the Sea Lion Defense Brigade at email@example.com. You can also call Matt Rossell at In Defense of Animals to volunteer as a monitor. That number is (503)249-9996.
We are also asking anyone who is connected with the program to step forward and tell us what you know. Are you an observer or a former observer? Tell us what you know about the identification of the sea lions. Are you someone from the Army Corps of Engineers, the ODFW, or the WDFW who has inside information about this program? If so, we would love to hear from you. Help us save lives. You know it's the right thing to do.
Killing sea lions will not help with salmon recovery. Both sea lions and salmon suffer from such shoddy and desperately ineffective wildlife mis-management schemes. The public also suffers, in that we are footing the bill -- wasting precious time and resources that should be spent on actions that will actually be effective in bringing back the salmon. We are all very sad that two more sea lions have now died, sacrificed to the ignorance and the hubris of the people whom we have entrusted to "protect" Cascadian wildlife.
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