SF Third-Graders Take Stand Against Sea Lion Deaths

Politicians in the Pacific Northwest have received petitions from San Francisco third-graders.

By Chris Roberts
|  Thursday, May 10, 2012  |  Updated 5:14 PM PDT
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SF Third-Graders Take Stand Against Sea Lion Deaths

Would you kill this sea lion? Wildlife officials along Washington's Columbia River might, but third-graders from San Francisco's Lafayette Elementary are seeking a stop to the practice.

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State officials in Oregon and Washington, consider yourselves warned: the 3rd-grade class at Lafayette Elementary School in San Francisco have put you on notice for your complicity in sea lion deaths.

Ten California sea lions have been trapped by wildlife officials along the Columbia River, where a dam straddles the two states. Nine have been euthanized, and a tenth was shipped off to an aquarium in Chicago, according to the Bay Citizen.

This is simply unacceptable to the grade-school students of Angela Casey, whose students have launched a political campaign aimed at the governors of Oregon and Washington, who have received exemption from the Marine Mammal Protection Act to do something about the sea lions. The sea lions threaten another native species: salmon, which the sea lions have been seen eating, the Bay Citizen reported.

The students learned about wildlife species and wildlife protection in determining that killing or shipping away sea lions was not justified in protecting the salmon. They then went a step further, organizing a letter-writing drive. On Thursday, Casey was scheduled to attempt to hand-deliver her class's petitions to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. The governor did not respond to requests for comment, nor did his office agree to a meeting with Casey.

The students organized a Facebook campaign in addition to the letter-writing effort which led to interest from Washington State-based Sea Shepherds as well as other environmental groups.

Casey's already had some impact: the sea lion captured and transported to Chicago was named "Casey" in her "honor."

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