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Bystander captures footage of parent and child encroaching on sea lion at beach: 'He continued trying to get more photos'

"It's frustrating how no one gets in trouble for these clear violations."

"It's frustrating how no one gets in trouble for these clear violations."

Photo Credit: Instagram

A tourist almost found out the hard way whether a sea lion's bark is worse than its bite after lifting a child too close to the creature for a photo opportunity. 

Instagrammer Shari (@salissav) shared footage of the encounter, citing advice from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that says to remain at least 50 yards away from sea lions — about half the length of an American football field.  

"Hundreds of people were violating the minimum 50 yard distance required," Shari wrote. "Even after the sea lion made an aggressive move towards his child, he continued trying to get more photos." 

In a clip, a man approaches a sea lion at Southern California's La Jolla Cove with his child in tow. The sea lion seems slightly stressed, lurching its neck forward several times at the pair. 

Apparently not sensing the danger, the man then lifts his child to sit on the same rock as the sea lion, only a few feet away. At that point, the sea lion seems to have had enough and lunges toward the child with its teeth bared. 

The man quickly removed the child from the situation unharmed, but as Shari pointed out, the situation sadly didn't seem to deter others. 

"As soon as he departed, another guy showed up for his own selfie,"  the original poster explained. "It's frustrating how no one gets in trouble for these clear violations."

"Omg!!! People kill me with this stuff," one commenter responded. "These are wild animals!!"

Some people may be unaware of regulations surrounding animal safety, but this clip is yet another reminder of the importance of education around respectful interactions with nature.

In addition to being dangerous for the humans and animals directly involved, these types of situations are stressful and risky for other visitors — as well as park rangers, who may need to intervene if an unlawful interaction goes south. 

At Yellowstone National Park, an unattended child was seen running up to bison, causing significant concerns about their safety. According to the National Park Service, bison are much faster than humans and have caused more injuries to people than any other animal in the park. 

Ignoring rules at parks can also result in the closure of popular tourist spots, preventing others from enjoying the area. 

Not long ago, San Diego city officials revoked access year-round to Point La Jolla and parts of Boomer Beach in an effort to stop humans from getting too close to sea lions. 

"Human interactions with adult sea lions and their young may result in injury to, and/or abandonment of, sea lion offspring, as well as aggressive behavior from adult sea lions," the city said in a statement of the decision published by KPBS. 

"As someone from the PNW, we know, you don't mess with sea lions," one commenter from Oregon shared on the original post. 

"One night/midnight, we decided to go walk the beach during a full moon. A sea lion was on the beach having a pup, and we had no idea," they wrote of their escape from an unintended close encounter. "It turned and started at us so fast … I'll never forget how it looked."

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