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Another Sea Lion Dies At Bonneville Dam

<p>Sea lions haul out of the water onto trap platforms at Bonneville dam.</p>

Nick Fisher

Sea lions haul out of the water onto trap platforms at Bonneville dam.

A Steller sea lion died after it got tangled Monday night between traps at the Columbia River’s Bonneville Dam.

Officials reported the death late Tuesday. It's the third trap-related sea lion death reported in the last week.

Rick Hargrave, a spokesman with the Oregon Department of Wildlife, said it was impossible to predict.

“The upper part of his body went in the water including its head, but the back end was still attached to the cables and it drowned," he said. "We pride ourselves in taking huge amount of steps in ensuring everything is safe and done in a way that's ... humane."

Sea lion trapping has been suspended until officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration review the death.

Last week, two California sea lions were killed on the Columbia River after they were crushed in a trap by a Steller sea lion.

State officials trap the sea lions at Bonneville Dam to help prevent the number of salmon that are eaten as they migrate up river.

Sea lions are protected under the Marie Mammal Protection Act.

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Conrad Wilson is a reporter and producer covering criminal justice and legal affairs for OPB.