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What to do when one endangered species affects another?

by DENNIS. L. CLAY
Herald Columnist | March 8, 2020 11:02 PM

Received last Thursday: “Dennis: I really enjoyed your invasive and native species series in the CBH this last couple of weeks. Very educational and informative.

“But you ended the series on the feral hogs and wild Russian boars. If you ever get to go on a helicopter feral-hog hunt, I want to join you.

“Gary.”

You bet Gary, but honestly don’t think the chance will ever present itself, but if it does, there is a place beside me. There was/is a video of Ted Nugent going on a helicopter hog hunt. He killed 800 pigs in the one day.

Some may think this is excessive, but watch a few of the hog-hunting videos and it becomes apparent killing 800 hogs in one day is simply scratching the surface of the hog problem.

Simply stated: We don’t want a hog problem, so the goal is to be proactive to prevent a hog population from becoming established. This is the correct action by Fish and Wildlife.

Sea lions

Today we are going to enter an area and discuss an animal where my knowledge is lacking: The sea lion.

Sea lions eat salmon, steelhead and other fish. This is where sea lion, salmon and steelhead become complicated for me. If the Chinook Salmon is an endangered species and the sea lion is an endangered species, what is Fish and Wildlife to do with the problem of having one endangered species eating another endangered species?

Now, it isn’t clear to me if the sea lions are or were endangered or not, or if just a few sea lion species can claim the title. No matter, it is a complicated situation.

When plans to shoot lions appeared in the newspapers, the public would go crazy and object. Still, knocking down the sea lion population would help the Chinook salmon and steelhead populations.

Relocate the lions? This has been tried, but the lions return to the same spot.

Our governor has a new initiative to examine the relationship between the salmon and lions. The driving force behind the fish and lions is orcas, also known as a killer whale.

Hey, the public enjoys orcas, perhaps more than sea lions. A prime food source for the orca is the Chinook salmon. Now we have a push to save the salmon and steelhead in order to feed the orcas.

Research as indicated there is also a push to eliminate some sea lions. We will investigate this angle in tomorrow’s column.

Tomorrow: More invasive species information.