Luring Sea Lion On Boat

By Peter Wallerstein

After 23 years of marine rescues, I thought I've seen it all. Then, this rescue happened! People were hanging their children over a railing to have this sea lion jump up for fish in the child's hand. It was a very dangerous situation. - Peter Wallerstein

When I received the call it was about parents holding their children over a railing in Redondo Beach so that they could feed a large sea lion that seems be responding to people and jumping to get the fish.

Nothing ever surprises me, but this, this was in a category of its own. How irresponsible for the adults to put their children in such danger. A bit from a sea lion can severely injure the child or an adult.

When I arrived at the scene I soon determined why this sea lion was acting as it was. It was a tagged sea lion that had just recently been released from rehabilitation. Some sea lions once released may still look for humans for food. People should never feed wild animals. This can lead to serious consequences.

Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol showed up to help. We tried unsuccessfully several times to net the strong, elusive sea lion. Then, I came up with the idea that if she is already responding to being fed, then we can use that to our advantage.

After 10 minutes of attempting to lure the large sea lion onto the Harbor Patrol Boat, it finally worked.

Moments after this photo was taken by Brad Graverson/ Daily Breeze, the sea lion jumped onto the dive step, then onto the boat deck where, after a short struggle, she was successfully netted.

The citizens were safe and after a short ride in the rescue truck we released the sea lion on a quiet beach for her safe return to the sea.

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