Fake whale fails to scare sea lions - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Fake whale fails to scare sea lions


(CNN) -- A mechanical whale meant to scare sea lions from climbing on the docks in Astoria, Oregon was a major flop Thursday.

As "Fake Willy" made his way out to sea, locals like Nancy Kurkinen watched and hoped.

"I'd love it if they parked it on the pier and in the morning all the sea lions were gone," Kurkinen said.

An operator steered the motorized, fiberglass orca, hoping to scare off a killer whale's natural prey.

These pesky squatters made a permanent home on these docks, basking in the sun, refusing to leave, bringing commerce to a halt.

"It could very well wipe out the fish in our rivers, the jobs that have been created to process and feed our nation," said Port of Astoria Executive Director Jim Knight.

The orca's owner heard about Astoria's problem and offered "Island." He was originally built for a parade float and now serves as a whale watching tourism attraction.

Its humble beginnings may have been the reason for some "whale fails" in Astoria.

First, the engine had to be replaced. Then a new rudder installed. And finally, when everything finally got on track.

"It tipped over once and it's full of water," Robert Burk said.

Although Jonah survived 3 days in the belly of a whale, Island's operator only managed a 30 minute shift before it started taking on water.

They tried towing it in by rope, but the plan went belly up. The orca flipped near the docks. As for the sea lion's reaction, only a few jumped ship, scoring another victory for the dock squatters.

"Hopefully they find something to do and to get rid of them pretty soon," Andrew Bergeson said.

No promises now, it doesn't look that way -- they're here to stay.

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