Six salmon-eating sea lions captured on the Columbia River in the U.S. Northwest were shot and killed over the weekend near the Bonneville Dam by an unknown assailant. A few weeks ago, the federal government itself announced it would allow wildlife officials in Oregon and Washington to kill up to 85 sea lions a year in the Bonneville area since they were eating large quantities of imperiled salmon. However, in response to legal action from the Humane Society, a federal appeals court temporarily halted the hunt in favor of a plan to humanely capture them and cart them off to zoos and marine parks. A hearing on May 8 will determine whether state wildlife officials will be allowed to cull Bonneville sea lions instead of trapping them. Meanwhile, sea lion trapping in the area is being suspended during the investigation of the rogue killings.