Travel Blog

22 Oct

Meet Vancouver Aquarium’s family of rescued marine animals

Rescued baby seal pup, Lemongrass, by Meighan Makarchuk

The Vancouver Aquarium is offering a rare and heartwarming opportunity to meet their family of rescued marine mammals now through Sunday, Nov. 6. The aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre team picks up over 150 animals in distress per year along the British Columbia coastline. Don’t drag your feet about choosing a day to visit. The animals sharing their individual rescue stories with the public will soon be fully rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

Among the compelling cast of characters, there’s Daisy, the harbour porpoise, who was found stranded near Victoria, and precocious Tanu the youngest of the sea otters, who was orphaned as a pup near Alaska.

Daisy was just four weeks old when she was found stranded. She appears daily at the Vancouver Aquarium to share her dramatic rescue and tenacious fight for survival.

The most recent arrival at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre is Jack, a 12-kilogram harbour porpoise calf who was rescued in late September from Horseshoe Bay. When Jack first arrived, he received around the clock care. Now, he’s recuperating steadily.

“In this case, the animal was most likely stranded as a result of separation from his mother,” explains Dr. Martin Haulena, Vancouver Aquarium veterinarian. Jack was placed in a flotation device in a pool of warm water because he no longer had the blubber he needed to stay warm.  “Harbour porpoises, especially calves, have a very high metabolic rate. To ensure he receives the nutrients he needs to heal and gain weight, the harbour porpoise is fed a unique fish-based formula every 90 minutes, 24 hours a day.”

Daisy, the rescued harbour porpoise, by Meighan Makarchuk

Elephant seals, sea otters, steller sea lions, harbour porpoises, sea turtles, common dolphins, and killer whales have all been the subjects of Marine Mammal Rescue Centre’s efforts, but newborn harbour seals are the most commonly admitted patients to the Marine Mammal Rescue centre. There are currently 71 harbour seals under care.

Rescue stories run multiple times per weekday with additional showtimes on weekends. The full schedule is available on the Vancouver Aquarium’s website.

The Marine Mammal Rescue team includes a staff veterinarian, animal health technicians, animal care and rehabilitation specialists, and many dedicated volunteers. Volunteers are recruited from the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre team. To find out how you can become a Vancouver Aquarium volunteer, visit the volunteer section of the website.

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