MORRO BAY, Calif. - After a young tourist was dragged into the water off a pier by a sea lion in Canada, the local marine center explains why it is important to stay back.
"Just like anyone, my first reaction was like 'oh my gosh'" says "Diana Kramer, the operations manager at the Marine Mammal Center in Morro Bay. "How terrifying for that little girl, how scary, thank goodness she is safe."
But she says there is plenty you can do to keep you and your little ones safe the next time you spot a sea lion, otter, or elephant seal along the Central Coast.
"What we like to tell the public is when you want to view marine mammals, keep a safe distance because they are wild," she says. "They are protected, and should be left alone as much as possible."
The Marine Mammal Center says at least 50 feet is the proper distance. This is not just for their safety, but as the viral video shows, yours as well.
There is a reason many coastal areas have signs urging visitors to not feed the animals; when they do not get that they expect, they can act in unexpected ways.
"If the animal changes its behavior because of your presence, that means you're also too close. So staying back, keeping that distance, allows them to go about their natural lives, and allows you to enjoy them safely."
Another good rule to go by is if you don't have to use the zoom on your camera on phone to take a good picture, you are probably too close.