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Port chief: Parents of girl snatched by sea lion allowed ‘reckless behavior’

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RICHMOND, British Columbia – It’s a shocking piece of video that has spread quickly across the Internet.

Michael Fujiwara was sitting on a dock at the Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf in Richmond, British Columbia when the California sea-lion popped its head out of the water.

Fujiwara grabbed his phone and started shooting video. He said the animal attracted a lot of attention, and a girl and her family came to the edge of the dock.

“Her family started feeding the animal, and the sea-lion started to become comfortable,” Fujiwara said.

At one point, the sea-lion lunges within inches of the little girl’s face. It seems like a friendly move, and the girl cackles with delight.

That glee turns to terror a few seconds later, when the seal lunges again – grabbing the girl and yanking her backwards into the water.

Now, the head of the Canadian port says the blame should be put on the girl’s family for the incident, not the sea-lion.

Robert Kiesman of the Steveston Harbour Authority said the girl’s parents were reckless and put her in harm’s way.

“You certainly shouldn’t be letting your girl sit on the edge of the dock with her dress handing down after the sea-lion has already snapped at her once,” Keiesman said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Keisman said there are signs all over the dock, warning people to not feed the sea animals.

“You wouldn’t go up to a grizzly bear in the bush and hand him a ham sandwich, so you shouldn’t be handing a thousand-pound wild animal in the water slices of bread,” he said. “You can only spend so much time protecting people from their reckless behavior. We’ve now seen an example of why it’s illegal to do this and why it’s dangerous and frankly stupid to do this.”

Experts told NBC News the sea-lion’s behavior did not appear to be aggressive, but it did seem to be hungry and curious.