The Vancouver Aquarium recently added a new member to its family: Jack the harbour porpoise. Jack, who was stranded at approximately five weeks old, was rescued last September by the Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre team.

Following six months of intensive rehabilitation at the Aquarium’s Rescue Centre, Jack was deemed non-releasable by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. He was rescued at a neonatal age and has not developed the necessary skills that would enable him to survive in the wild. So Jack’s been provided a new home at the Vancouver Aquarium where he can continue to receive the care he needs.

The harbour porpoise was discovered stranded on the beach in Horseshoe Bay on September 16, 2011 by members of the public who alerted the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. When the rescue team arrived to Horseshoe Bay, the 12-kilogram stranded male harbour porpoise was having difficulty breathing and could no longer swim. His muscles and skin were severely damaged due to the pressure of being stranded.

The harbour porpoise, later named Jack, was weak, malnourished, and dehydrated when found. Once the animal was admitted to the Aquarium’s hospital, the team provided emergency treatment and immediately placed him under 24-hour care and monitoring.

Jack’s lengthy rehabilitation necessitated more than two months of around-the-clock care provided by the Rescue Centre, and was supported by more than 60 devoted volunteers. The group of volunteers, along with staff, spent numerous nights with Jack, and provided more than 2,000 volunteer hours.

To ensure he received the necessary nutrients to heal and gain weight, Jack was fed a unique fish-based formula every two hours for the first eight consecutive weeks. At the beginning of his rehabilitation, Jack needed the support of a flotation device, as he was too weak to swim on his own. After a few weeks, he was encouraged to exercise freely in order to heal damaged muscles. The Rescue Centre team created a unique physiotherapy plan to help him regain motion and strength.

Thanks to the tremendous effort by staff and volunteers, Jack was able to regain strength and is now healthy and thriving. We are happy to provide him a home at the Vancouver Aquarium and also a new companion, Daisy. Daisy was rescued by the Aquarium’s Rescue Centre in 2008 and has been living at the Aquarium since 2009. Jack and Daisy were introduced last month and are both doing extremely well, interacting and playing with each other.

After being deemed non-releasable by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Jack and Daisy are the only harbour porpoises living in an aquarium in North America. They now share a home in the harbour porpoise habitat at the Aquarium where staff and volunteers continue to provide the care and support they need.

If you see a stranded animal, please call the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604.258.SEAL (7325) for immediate assistance. And please, come and visit Jack and Daisy at the Vancouver Aquarium!



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7 Responses

  1. Quinn Rhodes

    I went to the aquarium when you first got Daisy, and I had a moment there that I will never forget. She was in the enclosure all by herself and I had read that you had just moved her into the aquarium. I went over to where she was, and you couldn’t see her in there. I waited for about 20 minutes, and then just saw this little thing the the back of the enclosure. So many people were just walking by….no one else noticed that there really was something in there. I think I probably spent two hours standing there in awe of her. (This is Vancouver so no word of a lie it was switching from pouring rain to light drizzle the entire time.) She eventually got curious about me and would swim, from the back of the tank to the front….and right where I was she would turn on her side and just watch me back. It was honestly the most amazing experience I’ve had. She started bring all her toys over as if to show me and would skitter away as soon as someone else would walk by. But always came back, doing the same thing, turning on her side, and just watching. It is something I will never be able to forget, and I will never forget the feeling I had that day. Thank you for letting me be able to experience that. Keep up the good work.

  2. sandy scott

    oh my gosh!!! what a heart lifting discovery! I have been grieving the untimely loss of my parents, their names are Jack and Daisy! what a beautiful story and a true blessing to hear about your Jack and Daisy..

  3. Sherry Barrett

    I am sorry that Jack can not be released to the wild, but I am so glad that Daisy has a companion now! I loved visiting with her when i was in Vancouver, but she always seemed lonely for company! Happy Day.

  4. dee pouliotte

    awesome to read and see!!! when we were there this Fall we saw Jack when he could barely swim — and look at him now!!! and the knowledge that he now has a playmate to swim with is fantastic!! Good going, guys and gals!!!


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