Each week this summer, a new animal rescued by the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, presented by Port Metro Vancouver, will be featured on this blog. Stay tuned for more updates!
This week’s rescue story is courtesy of Shanie F., a veterinary technician at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.
Venus was brought to our attention on September 4 by Mark, an employee of Port Metro Vancouver. During his morning walk to the office, Mark noticed a very small harbour seal that appeared to be sick. Since the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre shares a dock with Port Metro, he walked over to the Centre to let staff know about the seal.
When I (Shanie) went over with Mark to investigate, we found the seal lying motionless. Her eyes were covered in yellow discharge and after a few minutes she finally noticed us and lifted her head and opened her eyes briefly. With Mark’s help, I managed to scoop Venus up with a net and place her in a carrier to transport her to the Rescue Centre.
Once admitted to the Centre, Venus received fluids (subcutaneously and orally), her wounds were cleaned and a full body exam including blood work was performed. We judged Venus to be more than a month old, so she was started on a fish diet. Research on harbour seals has shown that mothers tend to nurse their pups for four to six weeks, then will leave them on their own to forage for fish. For some reason, certain weaned seal pups struggle to capture fish and fend for themselves. They can also get parasites, wounds and infections that slow them down, resulting in poor body condition and weakness.
Port Metro Vancouver, a presenting sponsor of the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, worked hand in hand with us during the rescue of this tiny little girl and we thank them for all their help!
As a self-supporting, non-profit organization, the Vancouver Aquarium does not receive ongoing funds to operate its Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, but relies on community support to continue its work. To help us care for the hundreds of marine mammals we rescue and rehabilitate each year, please donate today.
You can also help us by voting daily for the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Centre during Jamieson Laboratories’ “Call for the Wild!” annual campaign. Visit facebook.com/jamiesonvitamins through September 15 to cast your vote.
To view a list of all the Rescue Centre’s current patients, click here.
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, presented by Port Metro Vancouver and supported by Teekay Shipping, is grateful for the support of its community partners.