Girl attacked by sea lion treated for 'seal finger disease'

She was dragged of a deck and into the water by the animal

Updated: 

A little girl dragged from a pier into the water by a sea lion needs treatment for a rare disease, it has been reported.

Extraordinary footage of the incident at the Steveston Fisherman's Wharf, Richmond B.C. Canada was shown around the world.

See also: Toddler feeds cheeky sea lion from back of boat

See also: Dancing sea lion bonds with little girl at Devon aquarium
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The family had been feeding the sea lion before it suddenly jumped up and pulled a girl into the water by her dress.

A relative jumped into the water and quickly got her to safety.

But now it is believed the girl will need treatment for 'seal finger disease'.

Credits: Michael Fujiwara/Youtube

Bystanders watched the sea lion swimming around in the water

Credits: Michael Fujiwara/Youtube

A young girl was happily watching the sea lion from the edge of the pier

Credits: Michael Fujiwara/Youtube

The sea lion getting close to the little girl

Credits: Michael Fujiwara/Youtube

The incident happened extremely quickly

It's a rare bacterial infection which can be carried by sea mammals in their mouths.

Vancouver Aquarium said the family involved contacted them after seeing an expert talking about the risk during a new report.

The girl suffered a small cut during the incident.

"The family saw the media reports and got in touch with us. She did get a superficial wound, and she's going to get the right treatment," spokeswoman Deana Lancaster told ABC News.

Credits: Michael Fujiwara/Youtube

The creature snatches the child by her dress from behind

Credits: Michael Fujiwara/Youtube

The youngster is dragged into the water backwards with her legs in the air

Michael Fujiwara, the man who took the video, spoke out about the shocking moment.

He told the Vancouver Sun: "I was just sitting by the dock and then this sea lion popped its head out of the water just in front of me. I just took out my cell phone and started filming.

"Originally, it looked like it was just going to be peaceful footage of a sea lion swimming in circles, putting on a show for the tourists at the wharf. But then it made its stunning heel turn."

Credits: Michael Fujiwara/Youtube

The sea lion snatched the child as family members screamed

Credits: Michael Fujiwara/Youtube

The girl in the water

Michael said the sea lion attracted lots of attention from visitors but that the animal could have gotten a "little too comfortable".

Sea lions are mainly thought to be timid, according to sealion-world, but there have been reports of aggressive attacks on humans.

They say that males are highly aggressive when it comes to earning the right to mate with females.

But usually they are thought of as social creatures and very intelligent and are also often taught to do tricks for entertainment.

Credits: Michael Fujiwara/Youtube

The girl is rescued by a man

Credits: Michael Fujiwara/Youtube

A man immediately dived in to rescue the girl

Frankie Hobro, director of Anglesey Sea Zoo aquarium in North Wales, said that sea lions are very strong animals with strong jaws.

She said it could be that the creature saw the people as a threat and reacted in defence or perhaps it was just playing, there's no way of knowing for sure.

She said: "Their teeth are very similar to those of an alsatian or a bear.

"You have to be very careful. People think they can get up close but if you get bitten by one it can be dangerous because of the bacteria in their teeth.

"People should keep their distance. You should not assume you can interact with them as they can be aggressive.

"They can come close to people and appear friendly but it's often hard to tell the difference between playful behaviour and an attack, because they can play rough.

"Sea animals should be treated as a wild animal rather than a pet."

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