Follow along with Kaouk, the rescued and released Steller sea lion

Kaouk in the Port Alice Trailer Park December 17, 2010

A male Steller sea lion was brought to the Vancouver Aquraium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre (MMR) on December 18, 2010. He was found the day prior, wandering around a trailer park in Port Alice, BC over 300 metres away from the ocean. Concerned citizens of the trailer park called Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Officer Greg Plummer came to assess the situation. The rescue centre was then called and pictures of the animal were sent to allow the staff to be able to evaluate the sea lion. It was noted by staff veterinarian Dr. Haulena that the animal looked underweight and dehydrated, and because of the unusual behavior of the animal, he felt that the sea lion should be brought into the rescue centre for more of an evaluation. Arrangements were made with DFO to collect and house the animal over night, so he could be on the first plane to Vancouver in the am via Pacific Coast Airlines.

Once at the centre, “Kaouk” (as named by Greg Plummer) settled in nicely and was examined by staff. Despite being underweight and dehydrated, he seemed in fairly decent condition and was started on a diet of herring, which was slowly increased over time.  As his herring amounts increased, so did his activity level and subsequently his waist line did as well. He ate very well from his first meal to his last at MMR, over doubling his weight from 50 kg, to over 110 kg! Once at a releasable weight and health, it was decided by DFO and Aquarium staff that he was happy and healthy enough to return to the wild. On March 17, 2011 he did just that and was released off the West Coast of Vancouver Island in Barley Sound.

Before he was released, Kaouk was outfitted with a satellite tag to be able to monitor his whereabouts. You too can monitor his daily activity on:

Kaouk is the first Steller sea lion to be released from MMR and the first animal to be released from MMR outfitted with a satellite tracker. A big Thank you to Fisheries and Oceans Canada for your support and supplying the satellite and VHF tracking system for Kaouk.

For more information on MMR, check out the rest of our website at or join us on facebook.

Released on March 17, 2011 at Toquart Bay, British Columbia

Kaouk on December 18, 2010.

Kaouk on January 18, 2011.



Kaouk on March 16, 2011.

Kaouk with his transmitters on. They are placed on him with epoxy, and will fall off when his hair grows out. Satellite tags are a great, non-invasive way to monitor the animals post-release and to ensure their safety. Photos: Lindsaye Akhurst.




Kaouk being released – March 17, 2011. Photo: Peter Olesiuk.








Kaouk after release, swimming off into the ocean. Photos: Peter Olesiuk.









Update: April 15

Here is a map showing in red where Kaouk has been traveling. He has been hauling out on a regular basis at Mara Rocks (the largest and only year-round Steller haulout in Barkley Sound) and at Wouwer Island (a winter haulout occupied by Steller and California sea lions mainly outside of the May-August breeding season).  He appears to be making regular foraging trips throughout Barkley Sound, and has been frequenting some of the areas where we’ve had reports of forage fish and sea lion activity.

Map: Peter Olesiuk.

Jerry Etzkorn at the Carmanah lighthouse sent these photos of Kaouk hauled out on rocks with other sea lions. We are encouraged to see that Kaouk is interacting with his peers and behaving like a normal, young Steller sea lion. Photo: Jerry Etzkorn.

Photo: Jerry Etzkorn.

Carmanah light station with sea lion haul out rock in the background. Photo: Jerry Etzkorn.

Sea lion haul out rock 500 metres off shore from the Carmanah light station. In this photo Kaouk is in the centre of that group of sea lions. Photo: Jerry Etzkorn.














Sea lion haul out rock 500 metres off shore from the Carmanah light station. In this photo Kaouk is in the centre of that group of sea lions. Photo: Jerry Etzkorn.

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One Response

  1. jill bukovnik

    I am so encouraged by all your efforts to save and care for these sea creatures that are loved by the world.
    Your program brings great hope to my heart and sets a huge example and education to people like me.
    Until my daughter, Tasha Bukovnik, started working at the Vancouver Aquarium I had no use at all for captive mammals.
    She has since educated me on how necessary it is to have a place like this & a rescue program as well.
    She finds great joy in volunteering on her days off & through her I live.
    Thank you so much for everything you all do.


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