As a volunteer in a wildlife hospital, the training involves detachment — because you will let go. Whether it is through the rehabilitation and subsequent release of the animal, or through that animal’s death, the relationship ends, as it should, when the animal is freed to his or her rightful destiny. Everything from objective language to silent, limited interaction with the patients is part of that process.
They sit suspended at the 18th weir, these scaled faces in the sockeye crowd. It's the window to their water world, the portal from ocean to stream to lake, where their gills remember the taste of fresh after years in the salty sea -- and where they lead -- at least in part -- by magnetic memories of the gravel beds where they were born.
Sea lions are being targeted for their catch of salmon at the dam. These marine mammals are often blamed for the problems which have, at their genesis, human technologies or practices: we built the dams, we destroyed wetlands, over-developed, polluted rivers, over-fished and thus depleted salmon numbers to these endangered levels.