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Oregon port uses inflatable 'air dancers' to scare off sea lions

By Daniel Uria   |   March 18, 2016 at 11:22 AM

ASTORIA, Ore., March 18 (UPI) -- A city in Oregon is using inflatable "air dancers" in an attempt to scare off unwanted sea lions form a local port's dock.

Oregon's Port of Astoria is deploying the large dancing decorations, which are traditionally used to attract customers to businesses, to be rid of the hundreds to thousands of sea lions that inhabit the docks.

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The sea faring mammals are popular with tourists, but their presence has caused damage to the docks and their affinity for salmon has angered the local fishing community.

Executive Director Jim Knight told the Daily Astorian that the air dancers, which only cost $200 to $300, are merely a temporary solution until a 22-inch-high dock railing can be installed.

The inflatable dancers will also help the port staff study the sea lion's behavior, as permit and project manager Robert Evert noted their high intellect.

"Time will tell," he told KPTV "One thing about the sea lions is they're very intelligent animals. So if they realize these are not a harm or threat to them, it's possible they'll get back on the docks."

The unique tactic provided some immediate results, as a few sea lions became frightened by the air dancers but the majority of the animals remained.

In the past the port has tried to scare off the sea lions using electrified mats, beach balls and a large fiberglass orca that eventually capsized.

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