Clever sea lion swipes dorado from angler’s grip

The sea lion Pancho steals a fish

The sea lion Pancho steals a fish

A sea lion named Pancho is a fixture inside the Cabo San Lucas marina, where he routinely begs for scraps and live bait. But now the clever pinniped has developed a larger appetite and is going after bigger fish—so it’s up to anglers to beware.

The accompanying footage shows Pancho stealing a large dorado, or mahi-mahi, from an angler as he was holding the fish at the stern of the boat, while posing for a photograph.

The footage was captured earlier this month in the Mexican port at Baja California’s tip. But it only begun to go viral after appearing on websites and social media sites during the past week, when it has garnered more than 450,000 views.

To some degree it appears to be staged, meaning that the pair of anglers might have known about the bold sea lion’s presence and were anticipating a theft.

But the uploader, Asobonline, a.k.a. Mike the Griz, assured via YouTube message that the great sea lion caper was not staged. Pancho is a regular, but generally goes after leftover bait, not game fish.

“Maybe people think this is staged, but what really is happening is that we were taking pictures of our trophy fish after a long day of fishing,” the Griz explained. “Pancho normally gets the bait that is left over from fishing, and lives in another part of the marina, so we never expected this to happen!”

This could be true. After all, the angler holding the bull dorado before it gets pilfered is gripping its tail very close to where the sea lion bites. Would he have risked severe injury just for the sake of this fun video clip?

Maybe. People do crazy things in Cabo.

In any event, it made Pancho’s day, while the poor pelican watching closely from the dock got nothing.

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