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Sea Lion Drags Little Girl Into the Water in Terrifying Video

May 23, 2017 08:26 AM EDT
Sea Lion Grabs Little Girl

(Photo : Michael Fujiwara/YouTube)

A little girl got quite the scare during a visit to the Steveston Fisherman's Wharf in Richmond, British Columbia on Saturday. The two-minute video of the ordeal quickly became viral.

According to a report from CNN, the video was filmed by Michael Fujiwara who was at the wharf when the California sea lion suddenly popped its head out of the water. It attracted attention from the travelers around, including a family with a little girl. The tourists began feeding and interacting with the animal who seemed to be getting comfortable with the attention.

The sea lion lunged towards the little girl who leaned closer in delight. As soon as she turned her back and sat by the edge of the dock, the animal took the opportunity to grab her by its paws and pull her suddenly into the water.

A man immediately leapt into the water to retrieve the girl, and other people helped them surface. In the chaos, the video wasn't able to capture the reaction of the family as they left quickly after the scare.

"After being pulled back onto the dock, the family quickly walked away from the area without saying much," Fujiwara told CNN. "They were probably very shaken up and just wanted to get away from the sea lion as fast as possible."

Steveston Harbour Authority general manager Bob Baziuk said that no one got hurt, but officials have been warning tourists not to feed the sea lions. The harbor is part of the creature's migratory route.

Animal experts told Live Science that while it's impossible to know for certain what the sea lion's intentions are, it probably thought the girl's white dress was a piece of food.

"I don't think it was a sign of an animal being aggressive or trying to harm the child," Andrew Trites of the Marine Mammal Research Unit at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver said. "The animal was expecting food. They were basically not taunting, but probably unintentionally teasing the animal by not giving him any food."

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