Biologists say the sea lions that scoop up fish at the foot of Bonneville dam on the Columbia river have killed more sturgeon this year than salmon.
Two different species of sea lions like to feast at Bonneville. California sea lions only eat salmon. But Stellar sea lions arrive earlier in the year. While they wait for the spring salmon run to start, they snack on sturgeon.
Biologists with the Army Corps of Engineers estimate that this year, the Stellar sea lions ate about 2,500 sturgeon.
A coalition of tribal groups says sea lions are eating far more salmon along the Columbia River than previously thought. The claim comes in a legal fight over whether wildlife officials should be killing some of the hungry sea lions.
A federal judge has authorized wildlife officials in Oregon and Washington to kill as many as 30 California sea lions each year near the Bonneville Dam. Four have been killed so far this spring. A conservation group has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the killings.