Dozens of great white sharks prowl the waters off Mexico’s Guadalupe Island, searching for prey, yet one baby sea lion recently discovered a new way to outwit the ocean’s fiercest predators.
A group of cage divers were filming the sea lion when a large female great white was also spotted in the area, Grind TV notes. As the shark approached, the sea lion darted into the metal cage protecting the divers, hiding amongst them to protect itself from the great white. The shark passed by the cages and, as it turned away, the sea lion took the opportunity to flee from the massive predator.
According to Martin Graf, whose company, Shark Diver, filmed the interaction and has been operating for years off Guadalupe Island, the sea lion’s behavior is highly uncommon. He noted that it was the first time any of his divers had witnessed a sea lion fleeing into a cage in order to escape a great white.
“He swam into the cages and came up right under the swim step, where I was actually touching him,” Graf observed. “When a big female shark swam by, he darted into the cage, and as soon as the shark turned away from him, he swam out.”
“The only other time something like that happened is a couple of years ago, when we actually had a baby sea lion keeping me company on the swim step.”
Great whites are common in the waters around Guadalupe Island, located 165 miles west of the Baja California port of Ensenada, from midsummer until early winter. Drawn to the area by prey animals such as seals and sea lions, the sharks are largely responsible for the Island’s reputation as one of the world’s premier cage diving destinations.
The great white shark can smell a seal colony from two miles away pic.twitter.com/AGIUhB0xUo
— Sharkingaround (@sharkingaround) October 31, 2014
Recently, a photo of a great white from South Africa sparked controversy as some observers claimed that the animals could potentially be harmed by interactions with cage divers. As National Geographic noted, while professional bait handlers are trained to maneuver the sharks away from cages, the possibility always exists that a white shark will strike the enclosure, even inadvertently.
— DianeN56 (@DianeN56) October 31, 2014
Earlier this summer, footage emerged from Mossel Bay in South Africa depicting a great white as it struck a cage, as the Inquisitr noted. Drawn close by the bait handler, the shark came eye-to-eye with the divers inside, leaving a steel bar wrenched out of place after the incident.
Though the baby sea lion’s life was in danger, Graf noted that the animal was able to safely make it to shore after the great white shark had passed.
[Image: Shark Diver via Grind TV]