A heart-stopping incident that was captured on video Saturday at a Vancouver area wharf is getting a lot of play on YouTube and Twitter.
The little girl comes into shot and seems amused when the sea lion rises up to say a quick hello.
Footage of the incident shows a man, believed to be a family member, leaping into the water to rescue the child. "She and her family, I guess, they came, they started feeding the animal bread crumbs or whatever it was, and then I guess the animal got a little too comfortable". They are huge animals.
He quickly grabs the girl and helps her back to safety - to the relief of by-standers.More news: National Hockey League explains why Sidney Crosby was not pulled from Game 6
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The girl appears terrified but physically unharmed, and was immediately whisked away from the scene by an adult.
"They were pretty shaken up", Fujiwara told the CBC.
But within a split second the sea lion then leaps from the water and grabs the little girl by her white dress before pulling her in backwards, with her legs flapping in the air.
Andrew Trites, the director of UBC's Marine Mammal Research Unit, said: "My first reaction to the video is just how stupid some people can be to not treat wildlife with proper respect". But it wasn't food of course.