WATCH: A Vancouver Island photographer who has taken thousands of wildlife pictures says a recent photo he took in Ucluelet made him sick and angry. At first, Wayne Barnes thought he had just captured sea lions on a dock, but on closer look, he realized there were also dozens of jagged nails intended to keep them away.
A small floating dock in the Ucluelet harbour has become a popular haul out for California sea lions.
“There are quite a few California sea lions in the Ucluelet area especially at this time of year,” said local marine mammal biologist Wendy Szaniszlo” “The chum run is happening so its forage food for them.”
And they use haul outs like docks or log booms to rest or regulate their temperatures amoung other things.
But as much as some people like them, others don’t and find them a nuisance and will do anything to get rid of them.
Tofino photographer Wayne Barnes found that out after he recently took pictures of the sea lions on the float.
“I noticed that there were these nails sticking up and I realized somebody had placed them there in order to stop the lions from getting up on their float.” said Barnes.
“Not everybody loves sea lions,” added Szaniszlo. “They are big, they’re noisy they’re kind of smelly so for whatever reason someone probably did not want them on the dock and thought that directing these nails would be a solution.”
Complaints were made to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the RCMP and the District of Ucluelet.
“Once the District of Ucluelet was notified we took immediate action to communicate to the dock owner and being a small community here we have relationships and once the situation was brought forward it was dealt with immediately.” said District of Ucluelet Environmental and Emergency Services Manager Karla Robison.
Biologists say there are better ways than using nails.
“Spacing poles that are quite robust around the perimeter, close enough so the sea lions cannot squeeze through, that’s been quite effective.” said Szaniszlo.
Wayne Barnes says he hopes he never sees anything like this again.
“If you wanted to injure an animal on purpose you couldn’t have set a better booby trap.” he said.