You've probably seen the dramatic video of a young girl being dragged by a sea lion into a marina. Whilst surprising everyone, the viral video has also raised concerns as to how "violent" sea lions actually are; some even commented on their dismay for they've considered these creatures to be friendly.
Truth be told, I was as shocked as these people when I've seen that video. So I thought perhaps explaining how this phenomenon happened could clear the crease on the forehead of those confused crowd (like me).
The girl, together with several other people, was on a dock in British Columbia, Canada. Fascinated by the enormous creatures, they've thrown food into the water for the sea lions to eat. And so, the animals went closer and closer as people reached toward the water.
Then at a certain point, the sea lion (in the video) can be seen lunging itself out of the water, possibly asking for more food. Seeing such, the girl still sat down on the edge of the dock. In one swift, that sea lion was able to reach her dress and pulled her into the harbor. Her grandfather then jumped in and quickly pulled her back into the pier. And the sea lion was nowhere to be found.
Let me get this straight. No, the sea lion wasn't mad. No, the sea lion didn't intend to eat the girl (she's not appetizing to such creatures after all). The sea lion is simply in search for more of those food people were throwing them.
Wild animals are generally unpredictable like these adorable water creatures. A California sea lion can weigh
up to 860 pounds and grow up to more than 7 feet (what more the largest of their kind, the Stellers Sea Lions) so no wonder it was able to pull the girl in easily. However, they generally prefer smaller food like fish, squid and shellfish. They are very well-known for being curious but never violent or aggressive towards human.
So may this serve as a lesson to everyone- feeding wild animals comes with significant risks and can even affect the animal itself negatively. For instance, feeding them with easy food may lead them to “equate humans with free food" which isn't a very healthy behavior, director of Florida Program for Shark Research George Burgess said in an interview