B.C. Parks issues warning after seal attack near Canoe Islets
Kayaker says seal attacked her and two other paddlers early last week
B.C. Parks has issued a warning about an aggressive habour seal in Broughton Archipelago Provincial Park, located on the west side of Queen Charlotte Strait near the north end of Vancouver Island.
Jan Whitehead was kayaking with three other paddlers in the vicinity of the Canoe Islets on July 9 when a seal jumped onto a man's kayak.
"Here was a seal, up on Jim's boat, and as he was paddling trying to get the seal off his boat, it actually reached up and grabbed just under his armpit and bit at him," Whitehead said.
The man was able to fight off the seal but his kayak capsized. The seal then lunged at another kayaker, biting her on the arm and hand. She was able to hit the seal with a paddle.
The seal then made a third attack, this time on Whitehead herself, biting her on the lower arm and injuring both sides of her arm.
Whitehead said her group was able to get away and meet up with a commercial group of kayakers who provided a first-aid kit.
She said the injuries weren't as serious as they could have been because everyone in their group was wearing dry suits.
"There is some tissue injury [on my arm] because I can feel swollen and lumpy underneath there," Whitehead said.
Whitehead and the other two kayakers are taking antibiotics.
B.C. Parks says such behaviour among harbour seals is not typical "but does happen from time to time."
Its statement says travelling in larger groups might be advantageous. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says in a seal encounter, it is best to move away slowly at the first sign of disturbance or agitation.
Whitehead says the attack won't stop her from heading out on the water again.
"But I might not go through the same passage again," she said, laughing.
With files from CHEK