After more than two months of intense around-the-clock care at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, Theo, a juvenile harbour porpoise that was rescued on July 24, off the shore of the Songhees Nation (Maple Bank) in Esquimalt, died last night.

Unfortunately, as with most of the stranded animals that arrive to the Rescue Centre, Theo came to the Rescue Centre in really bad shape. Only about 10 per cent of stranded cetaceans that are brought to rehabilitation centres survive. Despite our very best efforts, he did not pull through.

Rescue Centre staff and volunteers contributed over 5,000 hours to care for Theo over the span of 71 days. Because of his grave condition upon arrival, staff and volunteers supported his body in a pool of water around-the-clock until he was ready to be moved into a special, volunteer-made sling. Rescue Centre staff and volunteers are heartbroken that Theo did not make it.

After more than two months of care and treatment, we had hoped that he would regain his strength so we could release him back to the wild. That said, we knew that the chances of his recovery were slim. A special thank you goes to everyone who was involved in caring for Theo, especially our dedicated volunteers who worked through the night for the past 71 days.

The hope is that results from the necropsy will help contribute to the limited body of knowledge available on harbour porpoises so future stranded cetaceans may benefit.

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19 Responses

  1. Zoe

    I am so sorry for you. I am sure that Theo was an angel. It most have been amazing being able to care for Theo when he was alive.

  2. Shari

    I am so sad to here you have left us Theo, but I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to get to know you and watch over you. I will remember you always.

  3. Christina*

    I spent the first night of Theo’s rescue caring for him with many other amazing people while transporting him by boat to Vancouver. Although he has now joined his ancesters, he spent the last couple of months in the best possible care facility. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers that have worked so hard to give him the best chance at returning to freedom.

  4. Sheila Dean

    So very sorry that you lost your porpoise. We have been doing strandings for over 36 years, and know what it feels like to lose them. We have seen over 4100 mammals and sea turtles during this time. We were successful in 1980 with rehab and release of a harbor porpoise named “Special”. If you ever need any suggestions or help, please call on us. Thank you for doing what you do for the animals.

  5. Kirsten

    I’m so very sorry that Theo didn’t make it but I am happy that we have an excellent centre of resources through VanAqua. And I’m also thankful that so many people are learning of the resources that can help stranded and other marine mammals in distress. Thank you so much for working so hard. 🙂

  6. Terri K.

    I am so very sorry for the lose of another special mammal you openly welcomed into your facility and deep into your hearts. I’m sure he knew how desperately you all tried to make him well. You have great memories…. no one can take that away and that will never die !

  7. Desiree H.

    This is very sad to hear as I was there when Theo was found. It was definitely an experience I will never forget and feel very fortunate to have been a part of his rescue.That day will stay with me for a very long time. I know there was talks of having myself, the kids and parents that discovered Theo have a visit with him. It’s sad that will not happen now. But I want to thank all that were involved, especially the volunteers and staff that took care of him during his stay at the rescue center.

  8. Michelle

    I was one of the people who brought Theo over to MMR from Victoria. It was an absolute privilege and my heart is so sad to hear this news. God bless you little Theo.

  9. Lori

    Heartbreaking 🙁 Sorry little guy that you weren’t strong enough to make it back to the ocean 🙁 Thanks to everyone that gave him love and tried their best for his hoped recovery!

  10. Marcie

    So sad to hear of this loss, especially one hitting so close to home. I live in Victoria,.near where Theo was found. Many thanks to all the staff and volunteers that helped with many hours of their time. You guys are all amazing.

    • Vancouver Aquarium

      Thank you, Marcie, and to everyone for your warm wishes of support. Our Rescue Centre team did a phenomenal job working around-the-clock to care for Theo. We’re saddened that he’s no longer with us but we learned a lot from the experience and hope to apply that learning to future rescue efforts.

  11. rose l

    I am so very sorry for your loss, thank you to everyone who did their best to help theo. My heart goes out to all staff and volunteers at this time. I’m sure he was greatful to have had a group of people who cared enough to help him. Rip theo


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