A young girl has been ordered off a popular beach after repeatedly throwing sand at a resting sea lion, with the whole ordeal being captured on video.
The now viral footage shared by an annoyed beachgoer shows the girl standing just metres away from the animal who is simply lounging in the sun.
Leaning down to grab some sand or a pebble, she then throws it at the sea lion for what is reported to be the third time, inciting an angry reaction from the animal which jolts up from the impact.
Seconds later a female lifeguard, at the beach at La Jolla Cove in San Diego, is heard telling the girl to leave, at which point a woman, believed to be the girl's mum, is seen grabbing her hand and looking shocked.
"Little girl in the purple, you can leave now. Thanks," she says through the loudspeaker.
The Tiktok poster, as well as many who commented on the video during its 2.8 million views, praised the lifeguard for taking action. "Lifeguards thank you for this," she said in the caption. "This was the 3rd time the girl threw sand at the seal [sea lion]."
"Yes!! And take your parent with you!! Kudos to the lifeguard!" another said on TikTok.
The poster said the mum and child did not actually leave as requested. "She walked off to the side a bit but the mom still stayed closer to the seal to keep taking pictures of it lol," she said.
Many also questioned why people were standing so close to the sea lions. "I am just shocked that people would even get close to them. Wild animals can be so unpredictable, and to have your children that close is mind blowing," one person said.
The poster clarified that the area where are the sea lions are is "blocked off' and this sea lion happened to go for a swim and come back to sunbathe in the non-blocked off area.
Latest act highlights problem with people at the beach
La Jolla Cove is well-known for its sea lion sightings, with an area nearby called the Children's Pool also frequented by seals, meaning it's closed from December to May to protect the seal pups.
Due to its popularity with tourists, the behaviour observed by the young girl is sadly common — something people in the comments shared their frustrations over.
"I get so mad every time I go there because of the audacity and disrespect of people towards sea lions," one person said.
"It’s been a battle for years," another said.
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