As a self-sustaining non-profit society, the Aquarium relies on donations to support our many conservation, research and education programs.
In addition to the fundraising that we do, we are fortunate to have so many other individuals fundraise on our behalf.
One such group, headed by Netonia Chatelaine, is raising money to support our sea lion disentanglement work along the coast. Netonia is spearheading efforts to raise $100,000 to save these amazing animals – both California and Steller sea lions. She has created t-shirts which she is selling, and she has started a crowd-funding page to educate people about sea lion entanglement and ocean debris. Netonia recently visited the Aquarium and met with our marine mammal research staff to learn more about Steller sea lions and our disentanglement work.
Not only did she learn more about our disentanglement missions, and all of the planning and preparation that goes into them, but she also learned about our research in partnership with the University of British Columbia, which seeks to understand why the sea lion population in eastern Alaska has declined so drastically in the last two decades. “It was so incredible to talk with [the team] and to learn about all the issues involved with rescuing sea lions. I will be heading home to help educate people on this important issue,” Netonia said.
And this is a serious issue – it is estimated that there are 400 sea lions that have become ensnared in discarded ropes, nets, packing straps and wire. As the animals grow, the debris cuts into the animals, causing distress and serious injury.
The Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre staff, headed by head veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena, and in partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, has embarked on several rescue trips and has managed to disentangle a number of sea lions. These are very tricky missions, involving a new darting technique. Dr. Marty is one of only a few veterinarians in the world, and the only one in Canada, who can undertake this work. You can read more about it here and you can attend a talk with Dr. Marty and biologist Wendy Szaniszlo at the Aquarium on Monday, June 23, 2014.
The last sea lion disentanglement trip involved sending the team to Fanny Bay on Vancouver Island. Each trip is very expensive, which makes support from the Canadian Wildlife Federation, and private donations so crucial. We are very grateful for the work of all of our donors and friends to raise much-needed funds for projects like this. To learn more, or to support this important work, please click here.