Herschel, the Very Hungry Sea Lion

Opened in 1916, the Hiram M. Chittenden were one of the most ambitious projects of the US Army Corps of Engineers. The artificial channel acts as a passageway for boats moving between Puget Sound and Lake Washington and separates salt water from fresh. At the same time, the structure forces migrating fish to funnel into a narrow alleyway to start their journey upriver to the streams where they spawn.

The locks were also the stage for the antics of one of the best-known bandits in Seattle history. A sea lion named Herschel, along with his gang of other hungry pinnipeds ambushed steelhead traveling through the locks to their spawning grounds in the Lake Washington basin in the 1980s and ’90s. When the run crashed, locals were quick to place blame—sea lions were the obvious culprits. Yet the truth is likely more complicated, as it often is. This isn’t the first time—and it won’t be the last time—a marine species has been accused of wrongdoing when it competes with people for a treasured food source.

LINK (via: Hakai Magazine)

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