PORTLAND, Ore. -- New video released by the animal protection group SHARK shows government workers shooting double crested cormorants from boats in the Columbia River.
The video is some of the clearest to date and was captured in April and May of this year. Some of the scenes were shot from shore, others from boat.
The workers shot nearly 2,400 birds as part of a government approved project to protect baby salmon. The cormorants eat some of the salmon as they swim past East Sand Island on their way to the Pacific Ocean.
The birds had established one of the largest breeding colonies in the the world on the island. Government workers destroyed eggs in 1,100 nests on the island.
This is the second year of the government's effort to kill more than half the cormorant colony on Sand Island. Last year, more than 2,300 birds were shot and killed, and eggs in more than 5,000 nests destroyed.
It angers many, including Bob Sallinger from the Audubon Society of Portland.
“I am glad the video's out. It just shows how horrific the government's activities have been,” he said.
The group sued to stop the killing but the case is still working its way through the legal system. Sallinger’s furious that the government is ignoring public outrage.
“What the government unfortunately has demonstrated is that it’s willing to continue this killing even though more than 200,000 people wrote them opposing it,” Sallinger said.
For its part, the Army Corps of Engineers issued a statement that read in part.
"The culling conducted by Wildlife Services was performed in accordance with the guidelines set out in chapter five of the 2015 Double-crested Cormorant Environmental Impact Statement."
The killing stopped May 16 after workers noticed nearly all the cormorants, 16,000 birds, had left the island.
An Army Corps spokeswoman said its not clear why the birds suddenly left. The birds are believed to be in the wide stretches of the Columbia where it meets the Pacific.
The agency does not consider the project a failure and is waiting to see if the cormorants return.