Each week this season, 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 Taryn R., registered veterinary technologist at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

On October 4, harbour seals Titan and Pegasus were released back into the wild near their rescue sites on Vancouver Island, thanks to Pacific Coastal Airlines who donated cargo space for the pups and two seats for Rescue Centre staff to fly from Vancouver to Port Hardy.

 

Fisheries and Oceans Canada officers assisted with the release of rehabilitated harbour seal Pegasus.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada officers assisted with the release of rehabilitated harbour seal Pegasus.

In Port Hardy, with the help of two officers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), volunteers from Telegraph Cove and students from Eagle View Elementary, we released Pegasus. She promptly left her carrier and swam deftly through some large waves out to sea. She stopped a few times and was spotted bobbing at the surface before swimming out of sight.

 

Students of Seaview Elementary School in Port Alice witnessed the release of Pegasus.

Students from Eagle View Elementary witness the release of Pegasus.

We then traveled to Port Alice where the students of Seaview Elementary School met us to say goodbye to Titan who had been rescued close by on July 28 (you can read about Titan’s rescue here). He too was eager to exit his carrier and swam right into the water, turning back to the beach once for a final farewell from the school kids before he too swam off.

There is some biological evidence to suggest that harbour seals in different regions of British Columbia have slight differences in breeding and pupping seasons, so it’s important that rescued seals are returned to the same region where they originated. Thanks to the generosity of Pacific Coastal Airlines and the help of DFO, these releases were a huge success. It also provided a fantastic opportunity for community education with the kids from both schools delighted to witness the release of Titan and Pegasus.  The students will continue to learn about rescued animals in their classrooms and about our connections to nature.

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.

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To view a list of our current patients, click here.

If you see a marine mammal you believe is in distress, contact us at 604-258-SEAL (7325).

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.

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