While families and friends sat down to turkey dinners over the holiday weekend, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre followed a Thanksgiving tradition of its own with the release of another batch of rescued seal pups.

On Oct. 10, about 300 staff and volunteers congregated on Surrey’s Crescent Beach to cheer on 14 seals as they plunged into the Pacific Ocean. After a busy summer that saw 139 pups rescued and cared for at Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, presented by Port Metro Vancouver, the Thanksgiving release is a poignant annual event for the Aquarium family.

“Releasing healthy pups back into the wild is always an emotional event for the staff and volunteers,” said Emily Johnson, assistant manager at the Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. “Seeing the pups emerge from their transport carriers and make their way to the ocean is pretty amazing.”

Fifty-five rescued seals have now been released into the wild.

Fifty-five rescued seals have now been released into the wild.

While the released pups were celebrating their new lease on life, those remaining at the Rescue Centre await their turn. So far this fall, nearly half the rescued pups have been released and the remaining seals continue to gain strength by the day, said Johnson.  She expected another group of 14 should be ready to go back into the wild later this week. Now that’s something we can all be thankful for.

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 fund to provide around-the-clock care for its rescued and rehabilitated animals. Learn more about how your donations to the Rescue Centre helps to support rescued and rehabilitated seal pups each year. If you see an injured seal pup, call  604-258-SEAL (7325).

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