Iconic sturgeon survives Oregon wildfires

CASCADE LOCKS, Ore. — He’s 79 years old, 500 pounds and nearly 11 feet long.

Herman the Sturgeon, once the star of the Oregon State Fair, has survived a kidnapping, a stabbing attempt and now a raging wildfire.

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More than 30,000 acres have burned in the Columbia River Gorge forcing Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to evacuate three fish hatcheries ahead of schedule. Ash and debris can clog the hatchery intakes and cause respiratory issues in the fish, Michelle Dennehy, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, told Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Herman, the main attraction at the Sturgeon Viewing Interpretive Center at the Bonneville Hatchery, lives in a viewing pond that is filled from a well, which is not affected by the fire.

Hi Friends! It's been a rough week, but I wanted you to all know I am doing fine. The Hatchery guys have been taking...

Posted by Herman Sturgeon on Thursday, September 7, 2017

He was kidnapped in the middle of the night from a viewing pond in Roaring River in 1983, according to the wildlife department. A man jumped into his pond and repeatedly stabbed him. Herman was moved to a two-acre pond at the Bonneville Hatchery, where more than 500,000 people a year come to see him.

“Herman has a had a wild life,” Dennehy said.