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.


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.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Rhododendrites

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  1. Patricia Dumais says:

    I agree that this family must be steeply fined as an example to avoid other such occurences. What good are our laws if we don’t enforce them?

  2. These parents need their heads examined. What is wrong with them? Putting their child in danger like that! There is video, so fine them and call CPS. They are not fit to be parents!!!

  3. Cynthia Mattera says:

    Shame on these parents for letting their daughter be so close to the sea lion. It is a wild animal!!!! She could have drown or been killed. They should be fined for their actions. I hope the sea lion is ok?

  4. Stop & pursue this criminal rabble and this deformity  –  instantly!

  5. Arleen Gaumer says:

    Well, it was stupid and thoughtless, but not intentionally neglectful or cruel to either the child or the animal. A lot of people do not realize that wild animals such as seals, who seem harmless enough, are NOT domesticated and can react unexpectedly when frightened, feel endangered for themselves or their children, or when food is involved. Education is the answer, and not just “more signs”. Does the site have a tour guide who greets visitors and tours with them, providing pertinent information re safety, the animals themselves, etc.? If not, that might be a reasonable solution for the business (especially considering the costs of legal actions, or, being sued). A $100,000 fine for the parents seems like real overkill considering the sin, but if you insist on punishment, consider that the scare of possibly losing their child may already be punishment enough. And Perhaps we should remember that Punishment without mercy seldom produces the desired effect.

  6. Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Signed & sharing❗️?

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