NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Dramatic video shows a sea lion pull a young girl into the water in a seaside community in Canada.
The video, posted to YouTube by Michael Fujiwara, has already garnered more than eight million views since Saturday.
Just minutes earlier, Fujiwara was filming a large male sea lion by the Steveston Wharf in British Columbia.
“A huge crowd just started gathering around me, and a young girl came along with her family, and they started feeding the animal just breadcrumbs, and they were getting a little too close to the animal,” Fujiwara said.
The girl seemed amused at first but moments later as she sat next to the water’s edge the sea lion came back, this time grabbing her dress and dragging her into the water.
Without hesitation, a man jumps in and saves her. It’s not clear if the man was her father, but it’s believed he was with the group.
“There were no injuries or anything, everything was good but everyone was pretty shocked,” Fujiwara said.
Warning signs went up over the weekend because people feeding sea lions is a big problem at the wharf.
While rare, sea lions have attacked humans before typically when we get too close.
Experts say in most cases people are the problem.
“You cannot think these are just characters out of a Disney movie. They are not pets, they’re wild animals. They got teeth, they can bite even unintentionally you can get bitten,” mammal researcher Andrew Trites said.
Experts say this is an alarming reminder of why people should admire wild animals from a safe distance.
Marine mammal researchers say people wouldn’t let their children feed a bear and the same should go for a sea lion and all wild animals.
Trites believes the sea lion was “fattening up” before heading out to sea to breed off the coast of California.