PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 7 (UPI) — Federally protected Steller sea lions ate more salmon on average than in years past at Bonneville Dam in the Columbia River, biologists in Oregon say.
The salmon consumption likely would have been much higher, however, if 26 California sea lions had not been killed or relocated from the dam during the last two years, biologists with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say.
The two species of sea lion consumed 2.5 percent of this year’s spring run at the dam, The (Portland) Oregonian reported in a story published Saturday.
During the run, California sea lions ate about 4,014 salmon, down from 4,294 last year, while Steller sea lions ate 475 salmon, up from 176 in 2008. The numbers don’t include the salmon eaten before they reached Bonneville, the first dam in the salmon’s migration to spawning grounds.
The Humane Society of the United States has sued the federal government to stop the hazing and killing of California sea lions at the dam. A decision in that case is expected within two months.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International