Images emerged of a bodyboarder wildly swinging his board over a young sea lion on a New Zealand beach, sparking anger.
Video of a bodyboarder wildly swinging his board over a sea lion on a New Zealand beach reveals ignorance of the endangered species, a Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger said.
The video, filmed by Darryl Jones, shows a bodyboarder engaging with the wild animal at the water’s edge on Dunedin Beach yesterday morning on New Zealand Herald reports.
As the man moves away from the animal, near the base of the dike, the space between the two closes and he swings his board twice at the animal.
The two swings narrowly miss the head of the young sea lion.
Mr Jones said he noticed the bodyboarder being prevented from entering the water by a waiting sea lion moving from side to side before he started filming.
If the person in the video had walked away and waited five minutes, the sea lion would have been “bored” and flipped back into the water, he said.
“I was a Paua diver years ago, I’ve been surfing here for 30 years, I’ve met them loads of times – they’re all stunning.
“They are just curious.”
Biodiversity ranger Doc Jim Fyfe said that at this time of year people who are not usually on the coast have their first experience with wildlife and are often wrong.
In this case, the animal would have interpreted the swings at its head as a form of play, which could have created more problems for the bodyboarder.
“It’s just ignorance,” he said.
Mr Fyfe advised people to be aware of their surroundings and if there is a sea lion in the water, either wait or head along the beach.
This story first appeared in the New Zealand Herald and is reprinted with permission