Wildlife of­fi­cials kill sea lions to pro­tect fish

North Bay Nugget - - WORLD NEWS -

PORT­LAND, ore. — ore­gon wildlife of­fi­cials have started killing sea lions that threaten a frag­ile run of win­ter steel­head in the Wil­lamette river. The state de­part­ment of Fish and Wildlife ob­tained a fed­eral per­mit in Novem­ber to kill up to 93 cal­i­for­nia sea lions per year be­low Wil­lamette Falls south of Port­land, ore., Pub­lic Broad­cast­ing re­ported Wed­nes­day. of­fi­cials have so far killed three of the an­i­mals us­ing traps they used last year to re­lo­cate the sea lions. The sea lions were eat­ing so many win­ter steel­head at the falls that cer­tain runs were at a high risk of go­ing ex­tinct, ac­cord­ing to a 2017 study by the state de­part­ment of Fish and Wildlife.

The state plans to kill about 40 sea lions that fre­quent the falls by May, said Bryan Wright, a pro­gram man­ager for the de­part­ment.

The num­ber of sea lions that re­turn to the river should drop to sin­gle dig­its fol­low­ing the killings, he said.

“The only fish in the river right now are the win­ter steel­head,” Wright said. “if we can re­move all these sea lions right now that will be a huge ben­e­fit to them.”

Wildlife of­fi­cials moved about a dozen sea lions to the coast near New­port, but the an­i­mals ended up swim­ming back to Wil­lamette Falls. of­fi­cials de­ter­mined re­lo­ca­tion was not a long-term so­lu­tion.

The As­so­ci­ated Press

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