A recent online video of a young girl being pulled into the water by a wild California sea lion has sparked interest in recent days. It has been reported that some people on the dock of the British Columbia harbor were feeding the sea lion, whistling, waving, and holding food over his head. As California sea lions migrate up and down the coast they sometimes enter harbors in search of food. While seeing a wild animal up close, is for many, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, all wild animals should be observed at a safe and respectable distance. You should never approach a wild animal, offer them food, or attempt to touch them. This moment caught on camera occurred in Canada, but in the United States, being that close to a sea lion is a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and is something that should be taken very seriously.
Unfortunately, California sea lions face strandings and starvation due to changing oceans and overfishing. Georgia Aquarium is home to several rescued California sea lions that were found stranded and emaciated along the West Coast. Some, like one of our pups Neptune, suffered injuries at the hands of humans and have been deemed non-releasable. Others, simply cannot survive on their own. Georgia Aquarium and its partners provide assistance to marine mammal centers along the West Coast with strandings that continue to affect this charismatic species. To learn more about how we work to help them please visit: georgiaaquarium.org/conserve/rescue-and-rehabilitation.