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Originally published Monday, March 25, 2013 at 3:22 PM

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Sea Shepherd campaigns to stop sea lion killing

A conservation group known for interfering with whaling ships is now getting involved in opposition to Oregon's killing of sea lions that eat endangered salmon on the Columbia River.

AP Environmental Writer

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. —

A conservation group known for interfering with whaling ships is now getting involved in opposition to Oregon's killing of sea lions that eat endangered salmon on the Columbia River.

The group Sea Shepherd was in Astoria on Sunday, photographing and video-taping Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife technicians as they captured and branded 38 sea lions. Their photos showed flames and smoke coming from hides of sea lions being branded.

Numbers branded on the animals are used to identify sea lions that go upriver to feed on endangered salmon.

Jessica Sall, spokeswoman for Fish and Wildlife, defended the branding. She said the hot branding irons sometimes cause the fur on sea lions' hides to burn, but the department is using the same techniques used on cattle.

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