Featured Image Credit: Vancouver Aquarium
The fluffy male sea otter pup thought to be no older than 4 weeks has been taken into the Aquarium’s care, after being found floating off northern Vancouver Island alone, approaching a nearby boat and vocalizing. The boaters recalled that there was no mother in sight when they picked him up, being met by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) once they arrived back in port, and got a ride to Vancouver Aquarium for care afterwards.
The little guy requires 24-hour attention from the volunteers and staff at the Center, receiving food and baths from the team, as well as being groomed just like his mom would naturally do.
Sea otters are extremely dependent on their mothers for about the first 6 months of their life, and “this little guy is still a fully dependent pup. He would not survive on his own, and we’re providing him with the care he needs right now,” manager of the Marine Mammal Center, Lindsaye Akhurst said.
Although the boaters believed they were doing the right thing by picking up the lone otter, the DFO has stated that it would have been better if the “distressed animal [had] been reported first rather than taken from the ocean.”
Now, the possibility of finding the lost otter’s mother is gone, not knowing if they could have been reunited or if she was alive. Bringing the lost young pup would have been a last-case scenario— but it’s the only option, now.
The DFO is behind the authorization of Vancouver Aquarium’s rehabilitation and releases, and while the pup is healthy and might do well in the wild once it’s grown past the age of being with mom, it’s currently unclear what the fate of the little guy will be.
Rescue season for the Center is already pretty crazy, as they’ve given assistance to over 30 seals and sea lions already. But they’re handling it awesomely.
If you see a distressed marine mammal, you’re asked to call Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604-258-SEAL (7325), instead of engaging with it yourself, due to laws that prohibit the interaction or capture of marine mammals, in any situation.