After "dropping bombs that explode underwater and firing rubber bullets and bean bags from shotguns" failed to stop sea lions from getting hungry and eating salmon, wildlife officials have begun executing them, one by one.
Unlike eating, performing Irish jigs at Sea World is still acceptable behavior for sea lions.
This is the second year wildlife officials in Oregon and Washington have been euthanizing sea lions in the name of protecting salmon, which is endangered. (But enthusiastically fished by humans.) Officials stalk and observe the sea lions, single out the greatest fishers, and kill them. (By contrast, humankind's greatest fishers get wealth, fables by John Steinbeck, and encouragement from wildlife officials.) The AP explains:
Last year, 11 sea lions were euthanized. Another four were transferred to zoos or aquariums.
[...] Officials are tracking 63 additional sea lions listed as repeat offenders. They are identified by scars or by numbers that were branded on them by researchers.
"To get on that list, we have to have observed them as distinct individuals," said Jessica Sall, spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "They are not responding to hazing, and they're eating chinook salmon."
Sea lions have gobbled salmon forever. But their numbers have soared in recent years, as has the number of those cruising upriver to dine on salmon at Bonneville Dam. Frustrations peaked, especially among fishermen who have watched sea lions snatch salmon right out of their gill nets.
Now begins the pitched battle between those who think sea lions are too adorable to kill and those who think wild salmon are too delicious to lose. Cute vs. Yummy: Who should win?
Alternate solution: Hire killer whales to guard the fish by eating sea lions. Once they eat enough of them, the sea lions will be endangered, too. Unless, of course, the killer whales get to us first, eat all of humanity, and giant sea mammals take over the planet. Which would probably be the most fair solution, but then who would teach walruses to play the saxophone and dance the tango?