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Fake orca used to scare sea lions out of Oregon port

Fake orca in Astoria on 4 June 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption The fake whale was brought overland from neighbouring Washington state

Port officials in an Oregon city have gone to creative lengths to see off hundreds of sea lions from their docks - by shipping in a fake orca whale.

The 32ft-long fibreglass whale was brought to rid Astoria's port of the sea lions after they failed to leave as expected once the weather got warmer.

Officials say the sea lions are putting thousands of jobs in the city at risk.

First attempts to use the fake orca ran into trouble on Thursday, after its motor became flooded.

Officials say they may try again on Friday.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The sea lions arrived in February as usual, but have this year failed to leave

"It really is a sign of how desperate the measures are that we're taking to try and solve this problem," Jim Knight, Port of Astoria Executive Director, said.

"We simply don't have the financial resources to build barriers. We have no choice but to look for very creative and low-cost solutions."

He said action needed to be taken because such large numbers of sea lions were a threaten to the commercial and sport fishing operations on which the city depends.

"There are thousands of jobs that are at risk in our community," Mr Knight said of the city of some 10,000 people situated near the mouth of the Columbia river.

The fake orca actually belongs to a whale-watching business in neighbouring Washington state and was driven overland to Astoria.

It was deployed after other tactics, including electric mats and brightly-coloured beach balls placed outside the docks, failed to scare the sea lions away.

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