Aggressive seal attacks group of kayakers in Broughton Archipelago
Kayakers beware. BC Parks has issued a warning about an aggressive seal that has attacked a number of people paddling in the Broughton Archipelago.
The harbour seal reportedly attacked a group of kayakers near the vicinity of Canoe Islets, west of Cedar Island, earlier this week.
"Though harbour seal attacks do occur, this is not seen as typical behaviour, but does happen from time to time," BC Parks said on its website.
A July 15 Facebook post from one of the kayakers described the attack in detail.
The group of four was paddling out of a passage through the Canoe Islets when a seal jumped up on to one man's kayak, according to Jan Whitehead.
"It grabbed him under the armpit and bit into him trying to pull him out of his kayak," she wrote. "He fended him off but the seal was on his kayak and capsized it."
Afraid it would bite him again or try to drown him, the kayaker kicked at the seal, and it seemed to leave.
But it then approached another kayaker, lunging at her and biting her on the arm and hand.
"I saw the seal coming at Marlene again and yelled so she was able to hit it with her paddle and fend it off," Whitehead said.
As one of the group members attempted a self-rescue, the seal then leapt out of the water once more and bit a third kayaker on the lower arm.
The seal finally appeared to take off, and the kayakers paddled to shore to regroup and treat their wounds.
Whitehead said it's fortunate all three of the people attacked were wearing drysuits, or the bite wounds would've been much worse.
Whitehead said she suffered the most severe wound, and headed to the hospital in Port McNeill for treatment.
The reason for the attack remains unknown, but Whitehead wondered in her post whether the seal was protecting its pups.
BC Parks is asking all visitors to Broughton Archipelago to be mindful of the event, and is reminding kayakers that there's safety in numbers.
Anyone who encounters a seal is advised to move away at the first sign of agitation.
All marine animal emergencies should be reported to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans at 1-800-465-4336.