Punish Reckless Behavior That Endangered Sea Lion And Child

Target: Robert Kiesman, Chair of the Steveston Harbour Authority, British Columbia

Goal: Hold family and others accountable for actions which may have provoked a sea lion to attack a young girl.

Sea lions are powerful marine mammals which can grow to be over seven feet long and weigh well over 1000 pounds. While most people would not approach a similarly sized grizzly bear in the wild and offer it food, some people do not realize how dangerous marine mammals such as sea lions can be. Recent video taken in British Columbia shows how a family recklessly offered food to a wild male California sea lion and urged it to come closer before it snatched a young child by her dress and dragged her into the waters near the pier.

Despite posted signs warning against feeding or coming too close to marine mammals, one family evidently decided to offer slices of bread to the sea lion, while cheering and clapping him on. As the video shows, the animal lunged out of the water a short distance toward a young girl. Instead of sensing the imminent danger, the girl was allowed to sit at the pier’s edge where moments later the sea lion yanked her by the dress, evidently confusing the garment for food.

Thankfully, the girl was rescued and was not harmed, but the same can not be confidently said for the sea lion. Experts agree that feeding wild animals alters their natural behavior and can encourage them to act aggressively or otherwise unpredictably around humans. It is feasible that this sea lion may try to get food from humans again, and if encouraged, may stop hunting for prey as it normally would. This is a recipe for disaster in wild animals, and must not be allowed to continue.

The Steveston Harbour Authority has said that it will put up more signs warning against feeding or approaching wildlife and issue more verbal warnings against violators. However, Canadian law does stipulate that disturbing marine mammals is illegal, and can carry a maximum fine of up to $100,000. More must be done to enforce these existing laws. Sign this petition to demand that this family, and any other individuals found feeding or harassing sea lions or other wildlife, be held accountable and be punished for their reckless behavior.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Kiesman,

Sea lions are put in danger when they are approached or fed by humans. Despite posted warnings at Steveston Harbour, some people still think it is harmless fun to feed or get as close as possible to these powerful wild animals. As the recent video showing a small child getting dragged into the harbor shows, this thoughtless behavior can have serious consequences.

Sea lions are put at risk when their natural behaviors are altered. We demand that you do more to enforce existing laws which prohibit such interference. Please ensure that anyone found violating these laws is severely punished to deter further harm.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Rhododendrites

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7 Comments

  1. Anne Imelnut says:

    I saw the film on this and it’s quite obvious why the sea lion grabbed this girls skirt…it looked just like a piece of bread (which they had just been feeding this critter) was being offered to him/her. Clearly the parent’s fault!

  2. I respectfully disagree with this petition although I appreciate the idea behind it. I live near where this occurred and know that feeding sea lions is a common occurrence. This wasn’t some renegade family or something. They were just doing what many others do. I don’t think they should be punished. They’ve been through enough.
    Maybe this event will help educate people more on the dangers of feeding wildlife.

  3. Jeannette Allan says:

    Those parents are lacking in common sense in irresponsibly disregarding warnings, now a beautiful animal must pay with its life…. very sad.

  4. Maria Nowicki says:

    Another example of human stupidity!

  5. DON’T FEED THE WILDLIFE EVER!

  6. This was a unsafe situation just waiting for something really bad to happen and thank the lord the little girl was not hurt. THIS WAS A WILD ANIMAL AND EVERYONE KNOWS NOT TO FEED WILD ANIMALS. THERE WERE SIGNS POSTED TELLING PEOPLE NOT TO FEED THEM BUT…………YOU HAVE MANY HUMANS THAT CAN’T READ OR JUST THINK THE SIGNS ARE OUT THERE FOR ALL THE REST OF US. THESE PEOPLE SHOULD BE FINED AND THAT MONEY SHOULD GO TO THE MARINE MAMMAL CENTER A NON-PROFIT THAT SAVES AND PROTECTS SEALS AND SEA LIONS(ESPECIALLY FROM STUPID HUMANS WHO SHOOT THEM AND DO OTHER HARMFUL THINGS TO THEM. MAYBE ALL THOSE WHO SAW THE VIDEO AND LEARNED NOT TO FEED THE. A VERY GOOD LESSON TO LEARN BEFORE SOMEONE IS HURT!!

  7. It’s just recently in the news – MSN – that the family involved is saying that they did not feed the sea lion, although someone nearby was doing so. As far as I know there is no evidence that they were feeding the sea lion.

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