A video showing a guy shotgunning a beer, taking a backward dive into the Bay near Pier 39, and then jumping up on the sea lion platforms to scare them off has led to a federal investigation.
The video, which has gone viral on World Star Hiphop's Instagram account and elsewhere, was going around over the weekend, and it's not clear when it was shot.
The sea lions all freak out, start barking, and the entire colony of them that were sunbathing on the platforms adjacent to wear the kid jumped in all race into the water. Meanwhile, the guy shooting the video on his phone can be heard laughing.
As the Chronicle now reports via the Marine Mammal Center, investigators with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's law enforcement division have seen the video, and an investigation is reportedly taking place.
It is illegal to harass or harm marine mammals under the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act, and this guy's prank could end up landing him in jail, or at best, with a fine.
"Although the details surrounding this incident are very limited, including when it took place, our team at the Center immediately reported the video to NOAA Law Enforcement to investigate the matter due to the serious nature of this individual’s actions and will await the findings of their investigation," said Giancarlo Rulli, the Marine Mammal Center's spokesperson, in a statement to the Chronicle.
Many comments on the video scold the guys involved, due to the obvious distress that this caused the sea lions.
The sea lions have been a fixture of K Dock by Pier 39 since just after the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989. For reasons unknown, the sea lions discovered this safe sunbathing spot and the colony of its barking fans grew to over 1,000 in the months after the quake, and they haven't left since.
Anyone with direct knowledge of the incident or incidents like this can call NOAA Law Enforcement at 800-853-1964.