How Kids Can Make a Difference for the Sea Lions of the Bonneville Dam

Kids, teachers and parents - knowledge is power!

At the Bonneville Dam, California Sea Lions who catch too many salmon are killed by state officials. These killings are legal because the states of Oregon and Washington have permission from the federal government to kill the sea lions.  This is not fair because humans are allowed to catch much more fish than the sea lions.  Sea lions eat fish to survive.

Please use the information on the Sea Shepherd website to spread the word about what happens to California sea lions at the Bonneville Dam.  Please write to the Governors of Oregon and Washington and politely tell them that killing federally protected sea lions won’t save endangered salmon.

Download Sea Lion coloring page

Color in the sea lion and send it to the Governors of Oregon and Washington along with a note asking them to share the Columbia River with the sea lions instead of killing them.  Please be sure to take a photo of your picture and send it to us at before you send it to the Governors.  If you would consider making a youtube video of you drawing the picture and then reading a message to the Governors, that would be even better.

The math doesn’t add up:

If fisheries can catch 17% of endangered salmon and the dam takes about 17% of endangered salmon, why are federally protected California sea lions killed for eating less than 4% of the salmon?

Bad science brought to you by the letter H:

Scientists talk about the 4-H’s of salmon recovery:

Hydroelectric - the turbines & spillway of the dam destroy nearly 17% of the salmon
Harvest - fisheries are allowed to take up to 17% of the salmon
Hatcheries - hatchery raised fish compete with wild fish for food and territory
Habitat - the Columbia River is polluted!  Testing conducted in 2012 found high levels of toxic chemicals like arsenic, mercury and PCB, in fish caught on the Columbia River.

Efforts to save the salmon should focus on the 4-H’s instead of sea lions!

History:  We know that sea lions have lived on the Columbia River since at least the time of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805.  Journals from the expedition record “numerous” and “great numbers” of sea lions all the way up to Celilo Falls.  The Columbia River IS and has been the home to these sea lions for hundreds of years.  They were here first and deserve the right to live and eat.

Poetry: Consider writing a poem like Sammy the Sea Lion and send it to the Governors:

Sammy the Sea Lion by: Madison Bowers 14- Toronto, Canada*

Sammy the Sea Lion is my name
I live at the Bonneville Dam
My family was hungry, that's why we came
Now they want us to scram
Big men make loud noises around me
they put food in traps that make me curious
We only eat salmon because we are hungry
but it makes the men furious
We never eat more than we really need
We were always taught to share
there were lots of fish but men with hooks made them bleed
Now the men take all of them, they just don't care
They took 4 of my friends away from me
I really miss them a lot
I asked my mom where could they be?
Through her tears, she told me they were shot
Today they took my brother and made him cry
They burned numbers in his side
They hurt him so badly I don't know why
We are scared and have nowhere to hide
Please help us, we have a right to live
show the men there is a better way
give us a chance, we have so much to give
Help us live another day


Please take the time to learn about the issues.  Contact the Governors of Oregon and Washington and ask them to share the Columbia River with the sea lions instead of killing them:

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber

State Capitol Building
900 Court Street
Salem, OR  97301
phone: (503) 378-4582
fax:  (503) 378-6827
twitter: @govkitz

Washington Governor Jay Inslee

Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA  98504-0002
phone: (360) 902-4111
fax:  360-753-4110
twitter: @govInslee

Sea Shepherd would like to thank Angela Casey for the sea lion coloring page.  Follow Ms. Casey on facebook at “Ms. Casey’s Third Graders:  “Save the Sea Lions of Bonneville Dam!”

*  Sammy the Sea Lion was written by Madison Bowers, the niece of Sea Shepherd supporter Melissa Bowers.  A vibrant and talented young woman, Melissa lost her battle with brain cancer in May 2012.  Even in her final days, she never stopped supporting the dolphins, the sea lions and Captain Paul Watson.  This page is dedicated to her memory