Society

Viral Sea Lion Video Causes Controversy (Video)

| by Shani Shahmoon

After over 24 million views on the video (below), the little girl who was snatched by a sea lion and dragged underwater is now being condemned on account of bad parenting.

The video, captured by student Michael Fujwara, is now going viral.

On May 20 In British Columbia, Canada, a group of visitors at the Steveston Harbor came across a sassy sea lion that approached them, bobbing in and out of the water, NBC reported. One member of a family, a young girl in a white dress, can be heard cheering and egging the sea lion on, as well as throwing pieces of food into the water to lure the wild marine animal closer.

Fujwara was enjoying a cup of coffee when he saw the impromptu sea lion show, and decided to take a video of the curious creature interacting with people. Little did he know, the cute scenario was about to take a dramatic turn.

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The sea lion popped out of the water, snapping toward the young girl, who then proceeded to sit down on the edge of the dock, her back to the animal. With a stealthy lunge, the sea lion grabbed her dress and swiftly pulled the small girl into the water. A gentleman is shown jumping into the water and pulling the young girl out of the water and to safety. It is reported that she and her family then left the dock area.

Marine life experts and port officials have spoken out against the family's actions.

Andrew Trites, the director of the Marine Mammal Research Unit at the University of British Columbia, is among those who have criticized the girl and her parents, Fox News reported.

"My first reaction to the video is just how stupid some people can be to not 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," Trites said.

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Robert Kiesman, chair of the Steveston Harbour Authority, referenced the signs along the dock, warning visitors to not feed the wild animals, CBC reported.

"You wouldn't go up to a grizzly bear in the bush and hand him a ham sandwich, so you shouldn't be handing a thousand-pound wild mammal in the water slices of bread," Kiesman said.

"And you certainly shouldn't be letting your little girl sit on the edge of the dock with her dress hanging down after the sea lion has already snapped at her once. Just totally reckless behavior," he added.

The Steveston Harbor does reportedly have signs throughout the docks, stating that the maximum penalty for disturbing a marine animal is $100,000.

"You can only spend so much time protecting people from their reckless behavior," Kiesman continued.

A sea lion attack can be very extreme. The animals carry bacteria in their mouths that could result in limb amputation for a bite victim.

So far, the family hasn't contacted the Vancouver Aquarium, which has urged them to connect to ensure the proper handling of any injury.

This event comes almost exactly a year after the Harambe incident, WCPO reported.

On May 28, 2016, at the Cincinnati Zoo, a young boy climbed over a barrier and fell into their gorilla enclosure. Harambe, a 400-pound endangered western lowland gorilla, proceeded to drag the young boy across the enclosure. Zoo staff resorted to shooting and killing the animal to save the young boy.

A petition blaming the child's parents for negligence and calling for an investigation spread, gathering over 476,000 signatures.

Warning: This video shows a graphic animal attack.

Sources: NBC (2CBC, Fox News, WCPO, Daily Mail/Facebook / Photo credit: Orbitgal/Wikimedia Commons

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