Six Columbia River Sea Lions Shot Dead

In April, the federal government gave the states of Washington and Oregon permission to kill up to 85 sea lions a year for five years to mitigate the predators' toll on endangered Chinook salmon that congregate below the Columbia River's Bonneville Dam. But when the Humane Society of the United States stepped in, a federal appeals court agreed to disallow the killing until it hears arguments this Thursday.
Over the weekend, however, someone took matters into their own hands.

From an AP story in The Mercury News:

_Investigators think the killers navigated tricky waters in a restricted area, dropped the doors of two metal cages and then began firing a high-powered rifle at six trapped sea lions.

The sea lions' carcasses were found Sunday in floating cages moored at the base of Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. . . .

Only one of the six was among the California sea lions that frequent the dam, said Bob Lohn, regional administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service. Two were Steller sea lions, which prefer sturgeon over salmon._

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