Featured Image Credit: CBC
By Sarah Sharkey
The Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Center has taken in a record-breaking 189 harbour seal pups so far this season. At the season’s peak, they were admitting seven to eight new pups a day!
The Rescue Center helps to rehabilitate and release these young seals as quickly as they can. So far the staff has released 38 seal pups back into the wild, and are currently rehabilitating an additional 120 seals!
Over the years, the center has rescued many seals. Its last record year was in 2005, when the center rescued 174 harbour seals. The season is not even over yet, but they have surpassed that record.
Why are there more rescued seals in the care of the center? Lindsaye Akhurst, manager of the center said “But one of the things we might attribute it to is maybe public awareness. People now know who to call when they see these animals.” This is great news for seals in distress! If a seal has a problem people are able to get it to the right care.
“There’s no specific patterns with the animals coming in – they all seem to have the usual emaciated, dehydrated symptoms.”
By understanding the health issues of the seals coming in, the center can start to understand the threats that face the coastal ecosystem as a whole.
“We’re happy whenever we can save an animal, no matter how big or small. It’s why we do what we do,” said Akhurst. “When we can alleviate suffering and save a life, it’s gratifying … and we’re saving a lot of lives this year.”
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