It’s the beginning of seal pupping season along British Columbia’s coast and the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre rescued their first seal pup patient, Timbit.
Timbit, a tiny male pup estimated to be just a few days old and likely born early, was found by a concerned passerby in Bella Bella. After being assessed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Timbit was flown to Vancouver in cargo space donated by Pacific Coastal Airlines and is now in the good-hands of the Aquarium’s veterinary team. He is being closely monitored and is receiving top-notch care, including a nutrient-rich formula five times per day.
The young pup weighs just over eight kilograms — he is covered in the soft fur of a newborn and has the remnants of his umbilical cord still attached. “At this time of year, you’ll sometimes see newborn pups left to rest while their mothers forage for food. The mother will often come back, although unfortunately, not always,” explains Lindsaye Akhurst, manager of the Aquarium’s Rescue Centre.
Every year the Rescue Centre has a naming theme for their seal pup patients — this year select Marine Mammal Rescue Centre donors and supporters who purchased tickets to the Aquarium’s fundraising gala Night at the Aquarium, will have the pleasure of being creative in choosing some of the names for the 2016 pup patients.
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre rescues, rehabilitates and releases more than 100 animals each year — last year, the team rescued 145 animals. The goal for every rescued marine mammal is to treat, rehabilitate and return it to the wild as soon as possible. While most of the patients are harbour seal pups, the veterinary team also provides medical treatment to elephant seals, sea otters, sea lions, whales, and porpoises, most of which are successfully released back into the wild.
“We ask those who find a seal up not to touch it and to keep their pets away. Call us, and we’ll assess the animals,” Lindsaye advises. Please call the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604.258.SEAL (7325) for immediate assistance.
Vancouver Aquarium 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. To make a contribution to the Rescue Centre, please visit www.vanaqua.org/donate