Warning: This story contains footage some viewers may find disturbing.
A peaceful sunset stroll turned into a savage display of marine predation for a Victoria woman Monday night.
Steffani Cameron was on an evening walk along Dallas Road when something in the water caught her eye near Fonyo Beach. Standing just below Paddon Avenue, she began to film the scene unfolding in front of her.
A pinniped – it’s unclear if the footage is of a sea lion or harbour seal – appears to be battling with something beneath the surface. In an especially brutal moment, a spray of what looks like blood shoots up from the water.
“I’ve sat by the seaside all my life and I’ve never witnessed anything like it,” she told Black Press Media. At the time, she wasn’t sure what she was filming but later speculated that a larger, unseen, predator was beneath the surface.
Tina Kelly, director of learning and communications at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, says the video appears to show a seal or sea lion hunting a fish.
If it was an orca or shark, you would see some sort of fin, she explained. Though the scene may have seemed quite violent, it was likely just the pinniped stunning the fish and orienting it so that it can eat its catch underwater.
The animal seems to disappear after a bout of thrashing, which was likely the seal or sea lion diving below the surface to eat its meal.
And the blood that seems to spurt from the water? Could be a trick of the setting sun, Kelly speculates. But fish do have blood and other entrails.
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
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