The dramatic moment a California sea lion dragged a little girl into the water at a wharf in British Columbia has gone viral after it was caught on video. Michael Fujiwara, who captured the incident and posted it to YouTube Sunday, told CNN it happened Saturday at the Steveston Fisherman's Wharf in Richmond, British Columbia.

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At first simply amused by the sea lion who had popped its head out of the murky water, Fujiwara grabbed his camera and began filming. The little girl, seen in the video below wearing a white dress, sat on the dock’s edge to get closer.

Shortly after Fujiwara began filming, the sea lion jumped out of the water and dragged her down by the dress. Screams could be heard before a man, identified by BuzzFeed News as the girl’s grandfather, frantically jumped into the water to retrieve her.

“I've never seen anything like this before,” Fujiwara told BuzzFeed News. “But people do usually get too close and they don’t realize they are dangerous, wild animals despite looking cute.”

Fujiwara told CNN that the family quickly left the scene “without saying much.” He added, “They were probably very shaken up and just wanted to get away from the sea lion as fast as possible.”

Bruce Okabe, CEO of Tourism Richmond, called the incident rare and added that “Richmond is one of the safest cities in North America.”

“We believe the incident involving a child and sea lion is a rare and isolated occurrence and we would not expect to see it happen again. The safety of all tourists is of a top priority for us and I cannot stress how safe visitors are in any part of our city.”

Andrew Trites, the director of UBC's Marine Mammal Research Unit, called the incident “stupid” and dangerous. “My first reaction to the video is just how stupid some people can be to not treat wildlife with proper respect,” he told CBC News Saturday. “This was a male California sea lion. They are huge animals. They are not circus performers. They're not trained to be next to people.”

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According to BuzzFeed News, the Harbor Authority had installed signs by Sunday that advised visitors not to feed the sea lions.

“Interactions with wild animals should always be approached with caution,” said Okabe. “We hope she wasn't injured.”

sea lion The dramatic moment a California sea lion dragged a little girl into the water at a wharf in British Columbia has gone viral after it was caught on video. Photo: Michael Fujiwara/YouTube