Thanks to a tremendous collaborative team effort, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre is rehabilitating a young, adult male, harbour porpoise that was rescued yesterday off the shore of the Songhees Nation (Maple Bank) in Esquimalt.

A call was first placed into Fisheries and Oceans Canada at 4:30 p.m. yesterday by a member of the Songhees Nation. Desiree Holmes had found a harbour porpoise bleeding near the tail fluke. The stranded harbour porpoise wasn’t able to swim anymore and had beached itself.

The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre team worked with volunteers and staff from other wildlife organizations and was able to quickly assess the situation. With the help of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Island Wildlife Natural Care Centre, the BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC), Salt Spring Marina, Sooke Coastal Explorations, marine biologist Anna Hall and many volunteers, the porpoise – later named Theodore – was transported to Vancouver and arrived at the Rescue Centre at 3 a.m. this morning.

Theodore’s condition is grave, but we are cautiously optimistic at this time. He does have wounds on the ventral aspect of his body (abdomen) and is currently being supported by a specially made sling to support him in the water. This morning, he has showed a slight interest in fish, and is being fed every 90 minutes around-the-clock with supplementary fluids being added to his diet.

Today, Rescue Centre staff will be doing further tests with Dr. Chelsea Anderson. Dr. Anderson recently joined the Vancouver Aquarium to assist staff veterinarian, Dr. Martin Haulena. She will be treating the wounds that Theodore sustained from being stranded. Rescue Centre staff will also be doing further diagnostics and performing x-rays and ultrasounds to determine his overall health.

In 2011, Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre rescued over 150 stranded marine mammals. If you see a stranded animal, please call the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604.258.SEAL (7325) for immediate assistance.

 

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9 Responses

  1. Jane Sherrott

    People do care. I look forward to reading further reports on the porpoise’s condition across time.

    Reply
  2. patti

    Please update on Theodore’s condition this morning, July 29.

    All of the rescuers on board the Sooke Coastal Explorations Whalewatching boat are eager to hear how he continues to mend. It was my daughter in law who accepted the boat rescue and my son who drove Theodore to Vancouver. This was the first rescue they had ever attempted. The heroics of the Wild Arc volunteers, Rachel from Sooke Rainforest Tours and the biologist (mentioned in a previous blog) who accompanied Theodore were amazing. The whalewatching boat is built to keep people in the boat and in order to scoop ocean water out to continuously keep water on the porpoise, the rescuers had to risk themselves by leaning far out over the boat. The rescue was carried out at night, travelling through Active Pass and the Georgia Strait to get Theodore to Stevenston. The risk of logs and other debris as the boat travelled at night was in the minds of the rescuers but did not stop them from the importance of the mission… saving Theodore.

    The rescuers arrived back to Sooke at 6a.m. I do not know how the volunteers from Wild Arc were feeling the next day or the biologist that accompanied them, but after a full day of continuing with their respective jobs the rescuers from Sooke were exhausted but thrilled to know Theodore had survived the rescue and the part they played in that rescue.

    We are all hoping to travel to Vancouver to see Theodore as he is returned to his natural home. The goal of the entire rescue was to rescue, care for, rehabilitate and return him to his natural home.

    Reply
    • Vancouver Aquarium

      Thank you for your concern and care, Patti. Currently, Theodore’s condition is grave, but we are cautiously optimistic. He is being provided with 24-hour, round-the-clock care, and is being fed every 90 minutes around-the-clock with supplementary fluids being added to his diet. We thank Sooke Coastal Explorations for its role in the rescue, and hope for improvement in his condition.

      Reply
  3. Claire

    Great job you guys!! However I am wondering why so many harbour porpoises are stranding. So many just within these few years. There must be something going on in the ocean.

    Reply
  4. Jeff Lederman

    As long as we are singling out Marine Biologists, lets not forget Salt Spring biologist Pedro Baranda, who after a 12 hour shift of seal pup care, accompanied the animal from Salt Spring to Vancouver, arriving back home at dawn. Thanks Pedro!

    Reply
  5. Jen

    Kudos to everyone involved for all they’ve done so far! He’s in such great hands. 🙂
    (Also, kudos to the photographer- That underwater photo is gorgeous! He’s such a handsome boy.) Any ideas on age?

    Reply
  6. Marcie

    Such a great story! I am from Victoria and work with whale watching companies in the area – I am so glad that so far this story is a happy one!

    One note: Marine Biologist Anna “Haul” is actually Anna Hall! She is a phenomenal woman I had the pleasure of meeting once when I was a teenager and is a great asset to our communtiy!

    Many thanks, keep up the good work!

    Marcie

    Reply

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