Onlookers in Richmond, British Columbia, were shocked as a sea lion jumped from the water and dragged a girl from a wharf this weekend.
A man jumps in immediately after her, and someone pulls them both to safety. She didn't appear injured and walked away with adults.
"My first reaction to the video is just how stupid some people can be to not treat wildlife with proper respect", said Andrew Trites, the director of UBC's Marine Mammal Research Unit. The little girl as well as many other people, reach their hands out to the sea lion in an attempt to touch it, which needless to say was a very bad idea. She sits on the embankment whereupon the animal seizes her by her dress and pulls her into the harbor. "We believe the incident involving a child and sea lion is a rare and isolated occurrence and we would not expect to see it happen again".
A spokesperson with the Steveston Harbour Authority told 680 NEWS they haven't received a report about the incident but confirmed that sea lions do frequent the area. "If you feed the animals like this you're asking for trouble", he said, but sadly no one pays heed to his words, due to which incidents like these take place.
He hopes the video of the encounter will teach people not to feed wild animals like sea lions in the future.
@MichaelFujiwara You do realize that when you taunt a wild animal, they are going to either 1) try to protect themselves or 2) think that it's food right?!
Trites said that he did not see any "aggression" on the part of the sea lion towards the girl. It just got too close to people because they were feeding it. It's always best to use caution and keep your distance.
Hyson said there has been an uptick in people feeding wildlife around the Vancouver area, from bears to birds. Everything seems fine as it even seems that the sea lion wants to play with the little girl.