One third-grade class at San Francisco’s Lafayette Elementary School wasn’t going to let another California sea lion get shot without its voice being heard.
In the past two weeks, students in Angela Casey’s class have created and launched a political campaign to stop the governors of Oregon and Washington from allowing any more sea lion deaths at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.
Over the past several weeks, Oregon and Washington state officials have captured and euthanized California sea lions seen eating salmon at the Columbia River dam.
The two states, along with Idaho, have been granted exemption from the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, allowing officials to kill the sea lions. The officials argue that the animals are having a “significant negative impact” on wild, endangered salmon populations.
Since May 4, 10 California sea lions have been trapped, nine killed and one shipped to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
The Lafayette Elementary students have caught the attention of activists up and down the coast, who have arranged an Oregon tour for Casey.
The activist groups, which include the Washington-based Sea Shepherd and the Portland, Ore.-based Sea Lion Defense Brigade, will join her as she tries to hand deliver her students’ letters today to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber.