Ruth Cannell from Calgary, Alberta is the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre donor of the month for December. Ruth, an avid sailor, was exploring the San Juan Islands with a companion when she came across an abandoned seal pup that was struggling by the edge of the water. Recognizing that this seal was in distress she contacted several organizations before getting in touch with the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. After speaking with staff at the Rescue Centre and exchanging photos, it was determined that a rescue would be the best course of action for this seal pup.

Marine mammal Rescue Centre

A helicopter moves the stranded seal pup to the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

Ruth stayed with the pup which she lovingly named, “Silver” and watched over it until the arrival of the rescue helicopter that transported him back to Vancouver to begin his rehabilitation. When Silver arrived at the Rescue Centre, he was dehydrated and malnourished. He was diligently cared for by the staff and volunteers and his situation began to improve over the following days and weeks.

Ruth pays the Rescue Centre a visit to check on Silver

Ruth pays the Rescue Centre a visit to check on Silver.

Inspired by the good news, Ruth visited the Rescue Centre from Calgary during the summer to check in on Silver and see how his recovery was going. She was amazed with the progress he was making in the care of the Rescue Centre staff.

“It was heartwarming to see the dedication and care the staff at the Rescue Centre gave Silver and many other injured or abandoned seal pups just like him. This new opportunity at life would not have existed if they were not there to help him,” said Ruth.

Wanting to do more, Ruth supported Silver’s ongoing care by joining the Aquarium’s Sea Star monthly giving program. Her support helped to provide the care needed for Silver and the other animals that were rescued by the Rescue Centre this season. Ruth actively champions the work of the Rescue Centre among her friends and colleagues and has encouraged them to help support the Vancouver Aquarium as well.

Seal rescue at Vancouver Aquarium

Silver adjusting well to his new surroundings and putting on weight.

When the time for Silver’s release came, Ruth made the trip from Calgary again to be able to witness his journey back to the wild. It was a moving day for everyone involved.

The Vancouver Aquarium is a non-profit society and does not receive ongoing funds for rescue efforts. Donations made to the Vancouver Aquarium directly support our Rescue Centre’s ability to rescue and rehabilitate distressed marine animals. All of us at the Vancouver Aquarium are very thankful for Ruth’s continued support and for assisting in the rescue, care and rehabilitation of Silver.

Seal rescue and release at Vancouver Aquarium

After months of care, Silver has been released back to the wild.

Learn more about the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre and the 120 successfully rehabilitated and released seals from this past summer. Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, presented by Port Metro Vancouver and supported by Teekay Shipping, is a hospital for sick, injured or orphaned marine mammals. Donate to the Rescue Centre today at

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4 Responses

  1. Heather & Jane Davies

    Silver’s story has been inspirational to us on a personal note because of Ruth and her compassion. She told me the story shortly after returning to work from rescuing Silver and I shared it with my daughters who are animal lovers too. Jane and I took a flight from Cranbrook BC this summer to see first hand the wonderful work that MMRC does for the animals lucky enough to be in their care. We were both pleased and deeply touched to see the animals in such good hands,
    It is certainly through organizations like the MMRC and individuals like Ruth that restore my hope in human kind and the ability for animals to thrive in our ever-changing environment.
    Well done, and thank you!

  2. Michelle

    Ruth’s adventure over the last year with Silver speaks to her ongoing committent to conservation of the environment and marine life. Her storey is an inspiration to all those that have heard it, and I hope that her efforts can influence those around her to contribute to a cause as important as the MMRC.

  3. Steven Ballantyne

    Ruth’s compassionate efforts in rescuing Silver, arranging for his transport to MMRC, helping fund his rehab program, traveling from Alberta to visit him at MMRC (where, I understand, he put on quite a performance for her throughout her 4 hours there), and canvassing for funding for the work of MMRC, is simply wonderful. When she found him in desperate condition on a Saturna Island beach, she recognized and acted on her sense of connectedness with the animal kingdom, and this resulted in Silver’s life being saved. Who knows how many healthy Seal pups he will father, now that he is healthy and living once again in his natural home? It’s a remarkable story!

  4. Ns

    Ruth is a beautiful person in and out! There needs to be more people like her in the world


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