The shocking footage of a girl being dragged underwater by a sea lion didn't keep people away from the British Columbia dock where it happened. They wanted to see the beast for themselves.
Two days after a sea lion yanked a little girl off a dock near Vancouver, B.C., dozens of people descended on Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf in Richmond hoping to get their own look at the aggressive marine beast, according to the CBC and social media.
The dockside gawkers — including parents with small children — ignored warnings from marine experts and port authorities, and crowded up to the very edge of the wharf with their cameras and phones, scanning the brackish water for the big California seal lion. He didn’t disappoint:
A Vancouver college student videotaped the sea lion’s attack at the dock on Saturday, capturing the animal yanking a girl into the water before a man jumped in to save her. The girl’s family had been seen throwing bread to the sea lion moments earlier.
The video of the attack quickly went viral and set social media ablaze. The CBC reported the video had been viewed more than 14 million times.
Marine experts and port officials have since sent out a slew of warnings, reminding the public to keep a safe distance from the animals, the CBC reported. Sea lions feeling threatened or hunting for food have been known to attack people and pets, they said.
But the warnings did little to stop the crowds from coming back to the wharf Monday.
“Sometimes you gotta give your head a shake,” Steveston Harbour Authority general manager Bob Baziuk told CBC on Monday. “Steveston’s going to become synonymous with the ‘Jaws’ theme pretty soon. You have a hungry animal and these people are dumb enough to feed it.”
Baziuk said about 100 people were on the dock, mostly tourists.
The incident also drew crowds to other B.C. docks. Dozens of people also flocked to Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf for sea lion and seal viewing.