Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

First Nuisance Sea Lions Of 2014 Killed At Bonneville Dam

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
This file photo shows a California sea lion consuming a salmon just below the Columbia River's Bonneville Dam.


State wildlife officers trapped and killed six salmon-chomping sea lions at Bonneville Dam earlier this week.

It's part of a renewed campaign against nuisance predators who follow the spring salmon run.

Wildlife managers from Oregon, Washington and Idaho have standing permission from the feds to use lethal measures to protect endangered fish runs from hungry sea lions.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Rick Hargrave says spotters at Bonneville Dam compile a list of sea lions seen circling and snacking at the base of the dam. The half dozen sea lions sentenced to death by lethal injection this week were all repeat offenders.

"They (also) had to have been subjected to and not responded to non-lethal hazing," says Hargrave.

Hargrave expects operations against California sea lions to continue through at least mid-May, possibly into June this year.

In a reaction statement, the Humane Society of the United States called the sea lion killings "needless." HSUS field director Sharon Young asserts the "deaths accomplish nothing" and represent a waste of taxpayer money.

Correspondent Tom Banse is an Olympia-based reporter with more than three decades of experience covering Washington and Oregon state government, public policy, business and breaking news stories. Most of his career was spent with public radio's Northwest News Network, but now in semi-retirement his work is appearing on other outlets.