Sea lion shootings: Update on January/February investigations

Last month, we reported the news that federal investigators were looking into the shootings of at least five sea lions, some found in West Seattle (like the one that was being checked out in the photo at left, shared by Will). West Seattle’s Seal Sitters received early word of some of those cases and have been tracking the investigations. Robin Lindsey from Seal Sitters has now posted an update on their site: She reports that authorities say, of 11 sea lions whose deaths they investigated in January and February, from Kingston in the north to Olympia in the south, 10 had been shot. Two were Steller sea lions, officially listed as “threatened”; eight were California sea lions. As Robin writes on the Seal Sitters site, these shootings are considered crimes, and there’s a 24-hour tipline. And if you spot a seal on the beach in West Seattle in any condition, call Seal Sitters at 206-905-SEAL.

5 Replies to "Sea lion shootings: Update on January/February investigations"

  • md March 10, 2010 (8:36 am)

    I pray to God they find this murderer. How sad.

  • Kayleigh March 10, 2010 (8:39 am)

    I hope they catch them. How could someone be so randomly cruel?

  • samson March 10, 2010 (9:44 am)

    bust their A$$E$

  • HolyKow March 10, 2010 (2:04 pm)

    There is no excuse for cruelty for cruelty’s sake..
    This is future serial killer behavior…
    under the jail with them…


  • Larry B March 11, 2010 (10:35 am)

    Hysteria runs rampant in West Seattle!

    Murder is defined as the killing of a human. So murder this isn’t.

    Randomly cruel? Well, until you determine why this occurred you don’t know if it was random or for cruelty’s sake. By the way, one might argue that a bullet to the head is not cruel as the intent is to kill rather than to inflict pain.

    Why might these animals be shot? Commercial fishermen protecting their nets and/or fish therein. Sport fishermen keeping them from stealing hooked fish (actually more of a harbor seal problem). Boat or beach property owners unhappy about damage to their property/boats. Lots of folks who could be involved but why so many now?

    Simple! The population of harbor seals in Puget Sound has grown from several hundred in the early 70’s to approximately 15,000 in 2008 and that population continues to grow at 8-10% per year. During that same time period California sea lions have arrived as well as Stellar sea lions.

    Just the roughly 15,000 harbor seals consume about 30 million pounds of food a year according to the WDFW in their draft Puget Sound Rockfish Conservation Plan (find it on WDFW website). In that same document WDFW wrote “Lance and Jefferies (2007) concluded that the consumption of seals may have an important impact on reduced stocks of rockfish.”

    In that same report WDFW wrote that the first large aggregation of California sea lions was observed in 1979 and since then abundance has been in the hundreds and occasionally over 1,000 animals (Schmitt et al. 1995). Note that that cite is 15 years old and the sea lion populations have also been on an upward trend.

    Bottom line is that the Marine Mammal Protection Act has been very effective in allowing populations of these animals to grow and ultimately force them into new areas such as Puget Sound to the point where they are a detriment to the health of less visible marine resources.

    So while I hope to change some opinions I hope this information should for the other readers provide some enlightenment as to why lethal removal – both legal and illegal – has and is currently occurring and will no doubt occur in the future.

    Unless, of course, you want to take one home as a pet.

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