Last week the government again authorized the killing of sea lions on the Columbia river. The traps are set. It has begun again.
Yesterday, monitors with the Sea Lion Defense Brigade made the annual pilgrimage to the dam. It was strangely silent. Even the hazers were standing down, as it was Sunday. We saw no California sea lions up there yet at all. We did see two Stellars playing in the current just below the dam, and at least two others resting in the slower water down by Strawberry Island. Despite the government's best effort to get the Stellars de-listed from their threatened and endangered species status, the gentle and gigantic Stellars are still protected this year, and cannot legally be killed. (They are not safe, though. Vigilante fishermen kill more sea lions illegally every year than the government killed last year. These huge, friendly animals make easy targets for their predations.)
We also saw two beautiful bald eagles, hunting fish from a tall tree just below the dam. Nature is beautiful. But irony stings: a friend, upon hearing about bald eagles eating salmon, remarked, "What are they gonna do, kill every predator on the river? Why can't they just stop over-fishing?!" Indeed.