‘Dr. Bonnie Herring’, an underweight seal pup arrived at the Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Rescue Centre this month and is doing well in her rehabilitation

The newest pup patient at the Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Rescue Centre may sound a bit familiar—that’s because she’s been named as a tribute to B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. Dr Bonnie Henry has been celebrated for her tremendous leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and recognized around the world for her compassionate and steady guidance, but this may be a new ‘seal’ of approval for the Provincial Health Officer.

“We had a unique opportunity to thank Dr. Bonnie Henry for her incredible work. With her guidance and help, B.C. has been able to resume important work like our Rescue Centre, so we’re extra grateful that we can celebrate Dr. Henry this way,” said Lindsaye Akhurst, Rescue Centre manager.

The team at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre received a call on August 8 from a Vancouver Drydock worker who had been observing the pup for 8 hours. The team received photos and was dispatched to respond as it was clear the young pup was underweight, dehydrated and in need of intervention. The Vancouver Police Department Marine Unit were able to transport the rescue team to the site and back to the hospital. Once at the Centre, Dr. Bonnie Herring was treated with fluids and was eventually transitioned to formula. She was only 6.4kg on arrival—the normal birth weight for a harbor seal pup is anywhere between 10-12kg. “She has gained over 1 kg in the past week and is enjoying her daily swims,” added Akhurst, “she’s mighty and fierce, just like the real Dr. Bonnie Henry!”

The Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Rescue Centre — a hospital for sick, injured or orphaned marine mammals — is the only one of its kind in Canada. Under authorization from DFO, the team rescues, rehabilitates and releases more than 120 animals each year; For every patient, the goal is to treat, rehabilitate and return it to the wild as soon as possible. The veterinary team provides medical treatment to harbour seals, sea otters, sea lions, sea turtles, elephant seals, whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

If you see marine wildlife in distress, please keep people and pets away and call the Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Rescue Centre hotline at 604.258.SEAL (7325)  or Fisheries and Oceans Canada incident reporting hotline at 1-800-465-4336.

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