Residents blame sea lion incident on people, not the animal or harbour authority

Tourists stop to take photos on a dock at Steveston Harbour where a girl was pulled into the water by a sea lion on the weekend, in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

RICHMOND, B.C. - Residents of a waterfront community in British Columbia are blaming human behaviour for a harrowing incident over the long weekend that saw a little girl yanked off a dock by a sea lion.

A video posted online shows the adult male California sea lion grabbing the young girl's dress and pulling her backwards off the guard rail where she had been sitting on Saturday, prompting a man to jump into the water and lift her to safety.

A spokeswoman for the Vancouver Aquarium says in an email that the family of the girl contacted the facility and she getting the appropriate medical treatment after receiving a superficial wound during the ordeal.

Smokey Attwood lives in Steveston Village in Richmond and says people need to stop feeding the wildlife.

Attwood says he visited the wharf today, where he confronted a family posing for a photo beside a warning sign about the animal as their child sat on the edge of the dock in the same position as the girl who was pulled into the water.

Donald Walker and his wife Shirley walk the docks about once a week and he says it would be difficult to prevent the public from feeding the animals unless the harbour authority starts imposing fines.

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