Featured Image Credit: Vancouver Aquarium/Facebook
It’s no secret that we’re a tiny bit obsessed with Hardy the orphan sea otter pup who was rescued by Vancouver Aquarium back in early June.
Hardy has had an exciting last couple months to say the least! He was rescued after being spotted swimming alone, abandoned by his mother, and was just recently given a name after the public voted on one for him. In recent days, Hardy has moved into the nursery at Vancouver Aquarium to continue receiving around-the-clock care from the sea otter experts on site. When he was admitted to the Marine Mammal Rescue Center in June, Hardy was estimated to be just two to four weeks old.
Hardy has been busy learning the tricks of the otter trade. He has recently started grooming, exploring underwater, and learning to dive. In spite of a rough start for this fuzzy-faced little nugget, he is consistency gaining weight and growing stronger and more active each and every day.
“Hardy has been doing really well; he’s hitting all of his developmental milestones and thriving,” said Kristi Heffron, senior marine mammal trainer at Vancouver Aquarium. “He’ll continue to receive 24-hour care here at the Aquarium as he transitions to eating solid foods and learns how to groom himself independently, swim in deeper water, and interact with the other otters.”
Newborn sea otters are extremely helpless and very reliant on their mothers to survive. A mother otter carries her pup on her tummy for weeks so she can groom and feed her baby and teach it to swim, dive, and forage for food. Since Hardy arrived when he was too young to learn these essential skills, there is no chance that he would have survived in the wild. Therefore, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has deemed Hardy non-releasable.
Since the 1980s, the Aquarium and its Rescue Centre have supported sea otter rehabilitation and provided a home for non-releasable animals. They rescue, rehabilitate and release more than 150 animals each year.
“We’re excited to introduce Hardy to otters Rialto, Mak, Kunik, Katmai, and Tanu, as well as to our visitors in time. But right now, we’re focused on helping him settle into his new home,” said Heffron. Although Aquarium visitors cannot yet see him firsthand, a live-feed from the nursery will be broadcast to a monitor at the sea otter viewing area.”