Inflatable air dancers placed on the docks at Port of Astoria, Oregon, to scare off sea lions appear to be working. Colourful inflatable air dancers, were placed on the docks and the sea lions moved - initially.
“It’s about as anticipated. We know that were would be initial surprise and random movement and the bright colours we know actually deters the sea lions,” said Rob Evert of the Port of Astoria.
The port has attempted several methods of scaring off the animals in the past. Last year’s fake orca whale sank and thrown beach balls, streamers and plastic fencing have all failed.
According to port officials, the sea lions are causing between $100,000 - $150,000 in damages every year.
Vanessa Montoya with The Sea Lion Defense League suggests the port let the sea lions stay as they draw tourists who want to see the animals. She said the port could have built new docks with the money they could be charging people to see the sea lions.
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“These guys are such a huge draw for tourists and we have 24 cruise ships coming to town,” Montoya said.
Astoria has been suffering from a sea lion problem as the populations surge at the mouth of the Columbia River. The sea lions are back to eat migrating salmon and this influx of an estimated 25,000 sea lions has the fishing economy in danger.
For now, the Port of Astoria is going to wait and see if the air dancers continue to keep the sea lions away.