A terrified sea lion hopped onto a tiny fishing vessel in a desperate attempt to escape preying orcas, nearly tipping the boat over in British Columbia. According to reports from CTV news, the small boat had been floating off Pedder Bay, Vancouver Island, when the sea lion jumped from the water.
Moments before, people whale watching spotted a group of orcas hunting for sea lions. As a result, the sea lion nearly caused the boat to capsize. Check out the video below to see it all unfold.
Orcas, also known as killer whales, are notorious for feasting on sea lions and seals. In addition, these underwater predators have wicked hunting techniques and often plan coordinated attacks. They’ve even been known to play with their prey by throwing it to one other before feasting on it.
The whale-watching boat operator Mark Malleson saw the event unfold and captured it on film. He later said that he tried to warn the people on the boat before the incident occurred.
Malleson also said that a sea lion was nearby as the orca swam by the boat.
Sea Lion ‘panics’ trying to escape groups of killer orcas
“And it panicked. […] It did one jump and kind of landed on the side of boat and then it did a second one, which actually flipped the boat up on its side and I thought they’d capsized for sure but it righted itself,” he told the news outlet. “The sea lion ended up back in the water and now they’re half full of water trying to motor.”
The whale-watching boat operator also said the sea lion was a huge male.
“It must have been 700 or 800 pounds…If that animal had landed in the boat, somebody could have gotten seriously hurt, just from the sheer size or from the teeth,” he said.
According to whale researchers, the killer whale population in British Colombia has been booming in recent years. Last year, experts said people had spotted a record-breaking number of orcas in the British Columbia area.
However, transient orcas go after mostly sea lions and seals. This is because both sea lions and seals are abundant in the area’s waters. Today, British Columbia is home to five seals and sea lion species.
However, this isn’t the first time seals and sea lions have leaped onto nearby boats in desperate attempts to escape the killer whales.
“As a commercial operator we do not want to interfere with a hunt,” Malleson said. “If there’s a hunt going on, we need to stay well clear of the hunt so it doesn’t allow the seal or pinniped – seal or sea lion – to get to the boat because I have seen it before where they will get on the back of a boat.”