Sea lion drags shocked girl into water by her dress

But moments later as she sat next to the water's edge, the sea lion jumped up again, this time grabbing her dress and dragging her into the water.

The little girl then turned her back to the water as she sat on a wooden ledge, possibly to take a photo. Fujiwara's video did not clearly show any blood or broken skin.

Mr Andrew Tites, director of the University of British Columbia's Marine Mammal Research Unit, said it was likely that the sea lion thought the girl's dress was food. Certainly when animals are habituated to being around people, and the sea lion looked like he had no fear, the best thing for animals is not to trust their intentions are good.

In the clip, a sea lion is seen swimming by a pier, sticking its head out to the delight of visitors.

"After being pulled back onto the dock, the family quickly walked away from the area without saying much", Fujiwara said.

The signs at the docks even warn that sea lion bites "can cause very serious infections that may lead to amputation of a limb or even death".

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"She and her family, I guess, they came, they started feeding the animal bread crumbs or whatever it was, and then I guess the animal got a little too comfortable".

In Fujiwara's video, the sea lion pops up toward the girl as bystanders laugh. The sea lion suddenly lurched up, grabbed her by her clothes and pulled her backward into the water with a big splash, as onlookers scream. They are not circus performers.

According to Section 7 of the federal government's Marine Mammal Regulations, anyone who disturbs a marine mammal, except when legally fishing, can face a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine. "They're not trained to be next to people".

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

Trites hopes the video of the encounter teaches others to not feed wild animals like sea lions.

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