After Viral Video, Experts Say Don't Feed Sea Lions

A video that has gone viral showed the young girl pulled into the water after a sea lion grabbed her white dress.

In 2009, a five-year-old girl who'd been feeding seals earlier in the day was pulled from a dock at a West Vancouver marina just east of Horseshoe Bay by a harbour seal.

He also revealed that the family are locals - not tourists as some assumed - and identified the girl's grandfather as the man in the video who quickly jumps in to save her from the sea lion's jaws.

Over at NBC on Late Night with Seth Myers, the video got the "Amber Says What" treatment (skip to 1:27).

"While we appreciate that seeing wildlife can be exciting, we stress that feeding wildlife is both illegal and unsafe!" the statement said, adding later: "Also, keep in mind that feeding wildlife can also be extremely detrimental to the animals themselves, as they may learn to associate humans with an easy source of food, which can lead to them not being able to successfully secure food in the wild".

"The sea lion isn't the problem".

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Otjen said it is possible the sea lion thought the little girl might have more treats.

"It's not Sea World, it's a place where you buy fish", Baziuk said.

Temporary "don't feed the animals" signs have been placed up along the waterfront in Steveston.

Andrew Trites of the UBC's Marine Mammal Research Unit told CBC News he thought the sea lion mistook the little girl for food.

"Instead of getting closer, the people should have removed themselves and given this animal plenty of space". It then rises from the water toward the girl who was kneeling near the dock, then goes back in. Based on research, sea lions are known for their curiosity. The Steveston Harbour Authority has put up signs telling people not to feed the animals, and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has also put up signs warning parents to keep children away.

Federal law in Canada prohibits people from disturbing marine animals except when fishing. She was taken to hospital, treated for the wounds and trauma, and released. They are about 6 feet tall sitting.


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