WARNING: This article contains a video that may be graphic to some viewers.
A marine expert says a dramatic video posted on social media does not depict a sea lion being eaten by an unknown creature in the waters near Dallas Road.
The dramatic video, posted on Twitter by Steffani Cameron, shows a marine mammal — either a sea lion or seal — appearing out of the water a few times, eating what looks to be a fish. At one point in the video, what appears to be blood, can be seen squirting out shortly after the mammal goes underwater.
The video prompted some on social media to speculate that the sea lion or seal was eaten by a much larger sea creature.
However, Tina Kelly, director of learning and communications at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, says the large mammal in the video was likely a sea lion and was the predator, not the prey, as some have suggested.
“When you Zoom in, at the first glance, you do see a fish in the mouth of the animal and it looks medium-sized. It is a bit dramatic because they are trying to sort of stun it . . . so it fits in the mouth in the right direction.”
Kelly explains that if it were a large sea creature such as a whale or shark, a dorsal fin or some other part of the predator’s body would have been visible.
“In the case of a killer whale or an orca you would see a dorsal fin or a tail fin and they are quite dramatic in how they play with their food,” she said.
Another clue that points towards the creature being a sea lion, said Kelly, is that sea lions, and seals, often finish their food underwater.
“I think for many people that was also a bit of a mystery that all the sudden the animal just disappeared,” she said, adding. “It was just under the water probably just finishing off the meal.
“It kind of killed it at the surface but ate it below the water.”
Kelly also says the spray of what appears to be blood would likely have been from the fish but could have been sunlight tricking the human eye.
“The blood can be from the fish and obviously, there are end trails and intestines and those kinds of things,” she said. “It also could be a combination of that and a trick of the light from the sunset, so it could be just a play with our eyes as well as a bit of blood.”
At the end of the day, Kelly believes the creature more than likely is the sea lion and that it wasn’t being hunted by some larger predator or unknown sea creature.
“Myself and my colleagues did have a look at the video and although it is a bit grainy it very much looks like a sea lion. Sometimes, it looks like a seal but we think it is a sea lion,” she said.
So my friend suggests I didn’t see a seal hunting fish earlier… but rather a seal being killed by a larger predator that remains below the surface.
And now that I watched it from that perspective… eek.
— Steffani Cameron, Deep State Operative (@SnarkySteff) January 19, 2021