Oregon town fights sea lion infestation with wacky-waving-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube men
No, the port of Astoria is not suddenly advertising a dozen simultaneous door crasher sales.
Instead, it has come up with a unique and colourful way to deal with the town’s sealion infestation: by installing a series of wacky-waving-inflatable-arm-flailing tube men – also known as air dancers – along piers and wharves that were overrun by sea lions.
“It’s [gone] about as anticipated,” Rob Evert of the Port of Astoria told KOIN News. “We know that were would be initial surprise and random movement and the bright colours we know actually deters the sea lions.”
Situated at the mouth of the Columbia River, the port of Astoria serves as a natural place for sea lions to hunt migrating salmon.
According to port officials, the presence of as many as 2,500 sea lions is clogging up port facilities and causing as much as $150,000 in damages each year.
WATCH: Mass of Sea Lions prove difficult to dislodge in one Oregon town
This isn’t the first outside-the-box strategy the city has employed to try to discourage the mass of sea lions. Previous attempts included a fake orca designed to scare them off (it sunk), throwing beach balls and plastic streamers at the sea lions (they ignored them), and plastic fences.
Not everyone in the town supports the plan to discourage the sea lions. Vanessa Montoya with The Sea Lion Defense League argues the town offsets any losses in damages with the revenue brought in by tourists curious to see the sea lion mass migration.
“These guys are such a huge draw for tourists and we have 24 cruise ships coming to town,” Montoya told KOIN News.
For now, the tube men appear to be working, though port officials are waiting to see if the change is permanent.
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