Port officials increase public warnings after sea lion incident

BRITISH COLUMBIA (WSAV) — Port officials in Western Canada are cautioning about the dangers of feeding wildlife after a young girl was dragged into the water by a sea lion over the weekend.

More warning signs are being posted at a dock in Steveston, British Columbia, popular among tourists for its marine mammals.

In a dramatic video shot by local resident  Michael Fujiwara, a young girl was seen sitting on the edge of a dock feeding the animal as a large, male sea lion swimming in the water below.

“I was just sitting by the dock, having coffee, and a sea lion just popped out of the water, so I just took out my cell phone and started filming,” Michael said.

All of a sudden, the sea lion emerged out of the water and grabbed hold of the girl’s dress and pulls her into the water.

Michael said it was “a pretty horrific scene.”

A family member immediately jumped into the girl’s rescue and pulled her out moments later. However, the safety concerns still remain.

“Don’t think these are just characters from a Disney movie. They are not pets, they are wild animals. They have teeth, they can bite and even unintentionally you can get bitten so you want to keep your distance from them,” says Andrew Trites, a Marine Mammal Researcher.

Robert Kiesman, a Steveston Harbour Authority, claims this is a message the dock has been sending all along.

“Now we finally have something out there that’s going to grab people’s attention and show them exactly why they shouldn’t be behaving like this.”

Read more on this story here.

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