Trapped Sea Lions Cleared for
by Cheryl Calm
BONNEVILLE, Ore. - Two sea lions trapped last week at Bonneville dam are free of a cancerous virus, so have been shipped to the Point Defiance Zoo near Seattle.
They're in quarantine there while the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago readies a new permanent home for them. They will be the first animals relocated from the Columbia River to captivity.
The two were trapped last week along with a third sea lion who has now been euthanized because it had a contagious virus Oregon Fish and Wildlife officials believe may be cancerous. That brings to three the number killed as Oregon officials trap and remove California sea lions known to be feasting on Oregon's Spring salmon run at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.
"Our primary goal is to place healthy animals in the approved facilities that have asked to receive them," said Rick Hargrave, with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The two sea lions trapped last week will go from Point Defiance to the Shedd Aquarium as soon as their enclosure is ready. The virus-infected euthanized sea lions would have endangered animals at any zoo or aquarium where they might have been sent.
Last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration granted Oregon, Washington and Idaho the authority to trap, transfer or lethally control California sea lions caught feeding on federally protected salmon and steelhead.
Trapping and removal operations at Bonneville Dam will continue through mid-May. Up to five more animals will be relocated - to the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas. Other animals that are trapped and cannot be placed will be euthanized, according to Hargrave.
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