This week’s Recue of the Week comes to us a bit more locally, from Richmond, with the rescue efforts of Luke and Rob of the Harken Tug Company.

Luke and Rob noticed a small seal pup in distress being tossed around in the white wash behind their tug boat. They were pulling multiple tonnes of log booms closely behind their boat and they were worried that the exhausted pup would tire of swimming in the current and be crushed under the log booms.

Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre

Seal pup van Persie makes his way to the rescue team on the tug boat.

Not wanting to cause harm to the animal, Luke slowed the tug boat down to a speed that would allow the struggling animal to haul himself onto the back of the boat. The seal pup hauled himself into the boat and tired out from his struggles in the water, “Robin van Persie” as he was eventually named, immediately fell asleep on the back of the boat.

With the seal pup safely on the back of the boat, Luke called our Marine Mammal Rescue Centre to ask about what he should do next. As the pup was clearly exhausted and the tug boat was still on the move up the Fraser River, the Rescue Centre decided it was best to pick a point to rendezvous to assess the pup.

Seal pup rescue at Vancouver Aquarium

The seal pup was exhausted and rested on the back of the tug boat.

From Richmond all the way up the Fraser River to the New Westminster Quay, van Persie slept in the cabin where he didn’t move an inch until passed on to our rescue team at a small dock between the Pattullo bridge and the SkyTrain bridge.

Upon examination, PV1558, or “van Persie” was assessed for weight and age. It’s estimated he was likely only two days old at the time of rescue. He was given fluids and an electrolyte replacement solution to help stabilize him. Today van Persie is doing well and is continuing to progress through his rehabilitation at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

Marine Mammal Rescue Vancouver Aquarium

Robin van Persie is safely handed off to our rescue team and transported back to the Rescue Centre.

Thank you to Luke and Rob for safely helping this seal pup get to our Rescue Centre! If you spot a seal pup in distress, we ask you to stay a safe distance back and call the Rescue Centre at 604-258-SEAL (7325). If you are able to take photos to send to our team to assess as well it is greatly appreciated.

Want to help out seal pups like Robin van Persie? Donate to the Rescue Centre today. The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, 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.

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