In Portland, Oregon where the locals apparently don't love the sea lions enough to give them their own deck to lounge around on, two California sea lions were put to death by lethal injection this week. Their crime: dining on fresh local salmon in the Columbia River.
Although it sounds like an inhumane joke, poaching spring chinook and steelhead salmon is considered a serious offense by our woodsy neighbors to the North. According to the Portland Oregonian, the pinniped killings are endorsed by fishery managers, and biologists figure sea lions from California are gobbling up anywhere from 1.5 to 4 percent of the returning salmon before the fish can make their way to upstream breeding grounds.
Since the sea lion slaughtering program began back in 2008, officials from Oregon, Washington and Idaho have killed 28 of the creatures and sent another 10 to zoos or aquariums. (Sidenote: Idaho has sea lions?) Because no zoos are looking to add sea lions to their collections this year, any more of the gentle beasts caught fishing for steelhead this year will also be put down. Although the Humane Society attempted to put a stop to the practice last month, wildlife agencies will be allowed euthanize up to 30 sea lions this spring alone.
Meanwhile, back in the Bay: a sea lion pup rescued near Alcatraz rescued by the Marine Mammal Center a couple weeks ago is doing just fine. They named him "Al Catraz." Awww