Video of a sea lion grabbing a little girl and yanking her into the water at a wharf on Canada's Pacific coast has gone viral and prompted warnings Monday against the dangers of feeding wild animals.
The drama was filmed Saturday at Steveston Fisherman's Wharf in Richmond, British Columbia and as of Monday it has been viewed more than 11 million times on YouTube.
The sea lion was swimming leisurely, close to the wharf and occasionally sticking its head up out of the water as a dozen or so tourists watched and fed the animal.
At one point a girl sat down on a ledge of the wharf, with her back to the water. 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.
A man jumped in and pulled the girl out of the water. They walked away from the scene quickly.
"The more and more we feed wild animals, the more and more we're putting ourselves at risk for those situations," Danielle Hyson, a senior marine mammal trainer at the Vancouver Aquarium, told the Vancouver Sun.
On the video, the sea lion rises up out of the water a first time before grabbing the girl.
"So he's letting the people know that he's starting to get frustrated. And in that situation, the people should have backed off right away," Hyson said.
She said a lot of tourists on Canada's Pacific coasts make the mistake of feeding wild animals, even bears.