Every summer, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre staff and volunteers are busy tending to over 150 marine mammals that have been rescued along the vast coastline of British Columbia.

Oftentimes, seal pups are separated from their mothers and find themselves stranded on the beach. Did you know that at this time of the year, seals and sea lions are often found spending time on land? So, seeing a seal or a sea lion on a beach doesn’t necessarily mean that the animal requires assistance.

The Marine Mammal Rescue Centre has trained rescuers that can help you assess if an animal is indeed in need of rescue. If you see a marine mammal that you feel needs assistance, do not attempt to coax, pull, or push it back into the water. These are wild animals and they can be aggressive, so please stay back and observe from a distance. In addition, approaching animals too closely can cause them undue stress. If they feel threatened, they may bite (even small pups!). Keep them, and yourself, safe by staying back as far as possible. It is also important to keep pets away too. Dogs may inflict wounds on marine mammals, and there is a risk of disease transmission between the species.

The other important thing for you to know is that whales, dolphins, and porpoises don’t spend any time on land. If you see any stranded cetacean, call the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre immediately.

If you see a marine mammal that you believe is in distress:

  1. Stay back, and do not attempt to touch or pick-up the animal
  2. Keep people and pets away
  3. Call the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604-258-SEAL (7325)

Our Rescue Centre staff is trained to assess the situation and assist you on the phone. Staff will give you basic instructions to follow.

Rescue situations, and their recommended courses of action, vary dramatically depending on the species concerned. Other critical factors are also involved, such as age, behaviour, location and apparent health. Please don’t try to help an animal on your own. For more information on Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, please click here.

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