A wild new video has sparked a debate online that depicts a woman ordering a sea lion off her boat despite knowing there are two orca whales ready to devour it if it does. The video was originally posted by TikTok user @notabull but has since been removed. As happens with viral videos on the Internet though, other users were quick to repost the video so that the online arguments about the sea lion orca video can continue. In this case, users are split into two factions — to help the sea lions or let the orcas have their meal?
The first of the two-part sea lion orca video was reposted by Twitter user @castrowas95 and sees the woman realize that a rather large sea lion has jumped onto her boat, which appears to be some kind of motorized raft used for fishing. She’s initially shocked that she’s gotten such an up-close look at a creature that normally doesn’t approach her boat. That’s when she notices at least two orcas whales circling underneath her.
At one point in the seal lion orca video, one of the orcas even seemingly faces her as if to say “got a sea lion problem, ma’am? Perhaps me and my fellow orca associate can take it off your hands,” in a Sopranos-style cadence. Indeed, according to NOAA Fisheries, there are an estimated 2,500 orca whales in the easter Northern Pacific Ocean and, yes, sea lions are indeed part of their diet. As a result, the second part of the video sees the woman who is clearly freaked out at the circle of life she’s inadvertently interrupted demand that the sea lion jumps back into the water, which it eventually does. At one point she even apologizes to the sea lion because she knows it’s “supper,” but that’s just the way it goes.
Many online critics of the sea lion orca video were quick to denounce the woman as heartless for not simply firing up her boat and riding the little sea lion guy or gal to safety. However, the situation is much more complicated than that. The woman was likely afraid to fire up her propellers and drive off because of the orcas’ close proximity. There was a very real chance that she would hurt one of the whales, which would not only weigh on her conscience but could have landed her in legal trouble.
Newsweek notes that all killer whales are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Meanwhile, the Southern Resident Distinct Population Segment and the AT1 Transient stock — both of which live in the Pacific Ocean — are also considered endangered and protected under the Endangered Species Act. While depriving them of a sea lion dinner is not necessarily illegal (although it carries its own myriad of ethical questions) it’s certainly illegal to chop them up in a boat’s propeller because you decided you’re “team sea lion.” The outlet reports that the woman in the sea lion orca video made that exact case in the comments of the now-deleted TikTok.
Others, meanwhile, were upset at her for getting so scared about the orcas in her proximity in the sea lion orca video. At various points she seems to breathe heavily and panics about her situation despite the fact that the sea lion was not a threat to her and neither were the orcas, assuming she stayed on the boat as the situation played out. However, everyone knows that orcas are also called killer whales and they get that name for a reason. While they’re not typically a threat to people, they’ve been known to utilize teamwork to get their prey by any means necessary. Anyone who has seen the famous video of orcas cleverly catching a seal that they’d cornered on a small ice sheet would understand why she was perhaps a little bit freaked out.
Regardless of the nuts and bolts of this woman’s specific situation, chatter online about the sea lion orca video has been having a field day with the case as people wonder whether they would have fallen on the side of the sea lion or the orca if they were in the same position.