All eyes are on the water and focussed on the sea lions barking and behaving wildly on the docks of Cowichan Bay.

“They’re huge,” said Cowichan resident Theresa Shand.

“They are so big. Almost scary big,” said Shand.

But the one that so many are hoping to see and help is still missing.

A sea lion was spotted nearly a week ago now in Cowichan Bay, its neck entangled by rope or plastic as it lay on the docks.

Yet repeated attempts by DFO and the Vancouver Aquarium mammal rescue team to locate it, temporarily immobilize it and remove the gear have been unsuccessful. Officials say it has disappeared, so now locals have all eyes out hoping to help.

“It makes me sad just our whole industry of fish netting and pollution in the waters,” said Shand.

Experts are warning the public to stay away from the sea lion and alert them if they see it though, following reports of a local taking matters into his own hands and trying to cut the sea lion free with scissors.

“Apparently it’s a guy out there anchored in the bay who did it,” said boater Larry Teague.

Teague’s boats are tied up near the sea lions and says getting close to them is very dangerous.

“It’s extremely dangerous,” said Teague.

“You don’t want to go anywhere near these. If they can climb up onto this wharf, they can climb up onto a kayak or a canoe, capsize you and you are in dire straits,” said Teague.

Friday, marine mammal rescuers were also alerted to an entangled sea lion off East Sooke Park and responded, but couldn’t find it.

Experts say it’s likely they are two separate sea lions due to the distance involved.

Leaving two Island communities on watch and animal rescuers ready to respond when needed, should the badly injured sea lions surface here again.

Skye Ryan