Much to the delight of the veterinary team who nursed him back to health and returned him to his home waters, Levi, a rescued harbour porpoise, is doing well.
Before releasing him in Saanich Inlet last week, staff at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, presented by Port Metro Vancouver, outfitted Levi with a satellite-linked transmitter, so the team could monitor his progress once he was released.
A live map of his journey since being released can be found here.
According to the Vancouver Aquarium veterinarian, Dr. Martin Haulena, who oversaw Levi’s rehabilitation and release, the satellite data is painting a very encouraging picture of Levi’s transition back to the wild.
“We are very impressed with the data from the SPLASH tag and incredibly happy with Levi’s progress,” says Dr. Haulena. “His behaviour is consistent with foraging and the depth of his dives and breadth of his travel path suggests he has good energy—all of which is very exciting.”
Very few harbour porpoises have ever been successfully rehabilitated and released back into the wild, which means the data transmitted by Levi’s tag will provide valuable information to the veterinary team at the Rescue Centre, and will contribute to global cetacean research (i.e., research on porpoises, whales and dolphins).
Levi was rescued in March 2013, after being found stranded in Saanich Inlet. Too weak to swim on his own, he was placed in a specially-designed flotation sling and hand-fed nutrients while staff administered critical care to the ailing animal. After five months of intense treatment, he was deemed releasable by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and became the first cetacean to be successfully released into the wild by a Canadian team.
Read more about Levi’s story and see the footage of his release here.
To help the Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre continue to rescue sick, injured and orphaned marine mammals, please donate here.