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First 6 sea lions of the year killed to protect Columbia River salmon

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PORTLAND, Oregon — Six California sea lions have been euthanized to protect endangered salmon crossing Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Jessica Sall says the six were among some 20 sea lions that have been hanging around the dam as chinook salmon start their spawning run. People in boats and on shore harass the sea lions to discourage their feeding, but the department is allowed to kill up to 30 a year. Last year two were killed and two sent to a zoo.

The Humane Society of the United States has been trying to stop the practice, arguing sea lions kill fewer fish than people, the dams and loss of habitat. But a federal appeals court last year upheld the practice.

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