On July 15 our Marine Mammal Recue Centre received a call from the Courtenay RCMP with a report from a member of the public who was concerned about a seal pup at the Courtenay Air Park boat launch. Our staff was given the number of Chuck, who had originally seen the pup swimming around kayakers, suckling on their boats and unfortunately people’s fingers and contacted the RCMP. Any wild animal interacting with humans is a concern as this decreases the chances of the mother returning.
When asked about the body condition of the seal, Chuck said it looked underweight and had a lot of loose skin. In order to properly assess whether a seal pup is in need of coming to the Rescue Center we request that people send in photos to determine whether a pup is emaciated or has any obvious wounds.
Unfortunately Chuck was still out on his kayak so he was unable to email his photos of the seal pup. We then called our friends at Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society in Comox to see if they could have a volunteer head over to the boat launch to check out the pup and send over a photo to our team. Mountain Air Avian Rescue has stepped in to help us out on many occasions each pupping season; safely rescuing pups in need and sometimes even housing them overnight until they can be transferred to us the following day. Upon arrival to the boat launch the Mountain Air volunteer found that the pup had gone back into the water and was nowhere to be seen.
The next morning we called Josh at Comox Valley Kayak & Canoe, a rental company at the boat launch, to check whether the pup had returned. Josh informed us that there was no sign of the pup all morning, but around 4:30 p.m. the pup had returned once again. He was then able to send us photos and as soon as we saw them we knew that the seal pup would need to come in. The seal pup was very emaciated and tired looking. It was clear that this seal had been separated from its mother for quite some time. The next step was to figure out a way for this pup to get over to our Rescue Center. Josh offered to transport the seal to Harbour Air who then was able to fly the pup over on the next flight to Vancouver.
Once at the Vancouver Aquarium Rescue Center it was time to name this little girl. Going with our naming theme of “athletes” for 2015 we wanted to name her after a very important athlete, Jenna Gregg. Jenna is a 25 year old accomplished swimmer, who has won medals in the Special Olympics, and has undertaken a huge goal to swim the distance in laps between her home in Ontario and the Rescue Centre to fundraise money for these seal pups. Jenna is a huge inspiration to us all and we cannot thank her enough for her generosity!
You can support “Jenna” the seal and Jenna the swimmer by donating to her fundraising campaign by visiting our website at www.vanaqua.org/donate and acknowledging ‘Jenna Gregg’ as the reason you are donating.
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Vancouver Aquarium presented by Port Metro Vancouver and supported by Teekay Shipping is a self-supporting, non-profit society and does not receive ongoing funds to provide around-the-clock care for its rescued and rehabilitated animals. You can make a difference by donating to seal pups like Jenna at the Rescue Centre today.