A sea lion pulled a young girl into the water at the Steveston Wharf near Richmond, B.C. without any warning. The whole event was captured on video and posted to YouTube by Michael Fujiwara, who lives in Vancouver.
The sea lion was large and one of the observers on the dock exclaimed, “That’s huge!” He was circling around the water near the wharf where the family and other watchers were gathered. He would come close to the wharf and then swim away. They were all chatting and watching the sea lion swim around.
The Vancouver Sun said that the area used to be nicknamed Salmonopolis so it was likely that the sea lion was looking for fish. He didn’t find any fish but in the video, the sea lion can be seen eating something floating in the water, which Fujiwara said was bread thrown by the people on the dock.
It was around 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2017, when Fujiwara was with the others and saw the sea lion. He pulled out his cellphone to capture the animal on video. Global News reported that Fujiwara said the family was feeding the sea lion bread crumbs and he thought they were getting a little too close to the animal. In the video, one man can be seen reaching out to the sea lion.
The sea lion suddenly lunges from the water, nipping at the girl’s shirt and pulling her into the water. https://t.co/lJuz4ccpVY
— Global News Toronto (@globalnewsto) May 21, 2017
Fujiwara said, “The sea lion seemed pretty friendly at first. It jumped up to the girl, gave her a little greeting, but seconds after when she tried to sit down on the dock, it just came back up…and dragged her in the water.”
In the video, the sea lion is seen swimming around at first, sniffing at the air. The first time he comes up to the dock, everyone screamed and backed off, but they were soon laughing about it. The little girl sat on the side of the wharf and the next thing you know, she’s in the water. It happened very fast. It was so quick that no one had time to even think about grabbing the child before the sea lion pulled her into the water.
A family member acted fast though and jumped into the water after her. Others at the wharf acted quickly and pulled them both out.
Although the little girl was scared from being dragged into the water by the sea lion, she was not harmed physically.
Fujiwara said that the family and the young girl seemed to be ok, but they left quickly. He said that he has seen sea lions around the Steveston Wharf before but had never seen anything like this.
The Steveston Harbour Authority posted signs at the wharf after the incident, warning people not to feed the sea lions. Global News reported that workers said they had only opened the dock a few weeks ago and it had recently been built so the warning signs had not been posted yet.
According to Sea Lion World, sea lions are generally not aggressive. They are intelligent and easily trained. The United States government has actually used them to help scuba diving teams. However, wild sea lions are unpredictable to someone that is untrained and they do have times when they can be aggressive.
Sea lions have been known to attack swimmers or surfers. Some think that the sea lions may feel like the people are toys. On the other hand, this “could be a sign of territorial aggression by the males.” Sea lions have also been known to be aggressive during mating season.
What do you think about this story of the sea lion that dragged the young girl into the water by the wharf in B.C.? Do you think that the sea lion was being aggressive or did it just want to play?
[Featured Image by Gfed/iStock]