VANCOUVER, B.C. – The rescue season is already underway at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, with the first seal pup patient admitted yesterday.
Named Timbit, the tiny male pup is estimated at just a few days old, and was likely born early. He weighs just over eight kilograms, is covered in the soft fur of a premature pup, called lanugo, and has remnants of the umbilical cord still attached. Underweight and dehydrated, the pup was found by a concerned passerby in Bella Bella, assessed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and flown to Vancouver in cargo space donated by Pacific Coastal Airlines.
Timbit is now getting top-notch care, including a nutrient-rich formula five times per day and close monitoring by the veterinary team.
“This is the start of pupping season along B.C.’s coast,” said Lindsaye Akhurst, manager of Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. “At this time of year, you’ll sometimes see newborn pups left to rest while their mothers forage for food. The mother will often come back, although unfortunately, not always. We ask those who find a seal pup not to touch it and to keep their pets away. Call us, and we’ll assess the animal.”
This year, names for seal pup patients will be selected by supporters of the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. A new hospital building is under construction at the Rescue Centre, and fundraising for construction costs is a priority. Supporters who purchased tickets to the fundraising gala Night at the Aquarium, and who have made donations to the Rescue Centre, will be choosing names for the 2016 patients.
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre rescues, rehabilitates and releases more than 100 animals each year; last year, the team rescued 145 animals. The goal for every rescued marine mammal is to treat, rehabilitate and return it to the wild as soon as possible. While most of the patients are harbour seal pups, the veterinary team also provides medical treatment to elephant seals, sea otters, sea lions, whales, and porpoises, most of which are successfully released back into the wild.
If you see a stranded marine mammal, do not approach it and keep pets away. Please call the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604.258.SEAL (7325) for immediate assistance.
Vancouver Aquarium is a self-supporting, non-profit society and does not receive ongoing funds to provide around-the-clock care for its rescued and rehabilitated animals. To make a contribution to the Rescue Centre, please visit www.vanaqua.org/donate
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, presented by Port Metro Vancouver and supported by Teekay Shipping, is a hospital for sick, injured or orphaned marine mammals. The Rescue Centre rescues stranded marine mammals and rehabilitates them for release back into their natural habitat. Donate to the Rescue Centre at www.vanaqua.org/mmr
Editors/producers: find photos and a short clip of Timbit at the link below: