We’ve been told time and time again to keep our distance from wild animals because they’re, well, wild and unpredictable.
A family in Richmond learned this the hard way after their daughter was dragged into the water by a large male sea lion.
The incident was caught on video courtesy SFU student Michael Fujiwara who noticed the sea lion swimming in circles close to the dock.
A crowd begin to gather to get a closer look at the animal and a family even began to throw breadcrumbs into the water.
A young girl sat close to the edge of the wharf to get an even closer look at the sea lion, and that’s when he jumped out, bit onto her dress and pulled her into the water.
A quick thinking onlooker jumped into the water and managed to pull the girl to safety in just a few seconds.
Luckily, no one was injured but here are a few important things to remember:
- The federal government’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans strongly suggests that you observe sea lions from land, and that a distance of at least 100 metres should be kept AT ALL TIMES.
- The director of UBC’s Marine Mammal Research Unit says that people should always treat wildlife with proper respect. “This was a male California sea lion. They are huge animals. They are not circus performers. They’re not trained to be next to people.”
- Don’t be fooled by a sea lion’s adorable face. They have sharp teeth, can swim up to 35 km/hr, and some species can weigh up to a whopping 2,200 lbs. That translates to being a big, scary animal.
- Wild animals are unpredictable. Just because they’re close to land doesn’t mean they’re tame.
- Sea lion attacks on humans are incredibly rare, but they do happen.
*Caution – Some may find this video a little disturbing.*