Following the government’s slaughter of cormorants on East Sand Island in Oregon, 16,000 additional cormorants have abandoned their nests — a horror for the animals and their eggs as well as a biological catastrophe.
Absurdly, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is blaming eagles.
“Bald eagles are known to significantly startle and disperse nesting colonies,” Corps spokeswoman Amy Echols told The Daily Astorian.
Dan Roby, a researcher at Oregon State University, disagreed in the same story: “I’m pretty confident that’s not what caused the cormorants to abandon the colony. We’ve seen that number of eagles out there before. We’ve seen them killing cormorants on their nests, and it doesn’t cause that kind of abandonment.”
Federal agents shoot cormorants and oil their eggs to “protect salmon” — rather than significantly addressing human overfishing, hydroelectric damming or pollution. They reported killing 209 cormorants between May 12 and May 18, the paper reported.
Last year, Wildlife Services killed 1,707 cormorants in Oregon and oiled 5,089 nests. A permit this year allows them to kill 3,114 double crested cormorants, 93 Brandt’s cormorants and 9 Pelagic cormorants — and oil 5,247 nests,according to the Chinook Observer.
The Audubon Society of Portland and other animal organizations have tried to sue the U.S. Army Corps and U.S. Fish and Wildlife, including a new suit demanding a halt to the “management plan.”
Please email officials to let them know this program has now failed spectactularly and must be stopped:
Dave Williams, Oregon Wildlife Services State Director
Curt Melcher, Director, Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (general email)
A sample email:
Cormorant killing backfired — please stop
Dear Mssrs. Williams and Melcher,
It’s clear from the recent departure of 16,000 cormorants on East Sand Island that the program of destroying the birds and their nests has backfired. Please discontinue it before you completely topple the island’s ecosystem.
There are other ways to protect salmon populations, including preventing overfishing and mitigating pollution.
Killing cormorants is not the answer, as we’ve just learned the hard way.