Record-breaking season at Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre


Harbour seals at the Vancouver Aquarium marine Mammal Rescue Centre in August. Credit: Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre

The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre said it has rescued 189 harbour seals to date, breaking a previous record of 174 harbour seals set in 2005.

The rescue centre said so far this year, almost 200 stranded, sick and injured marine mammals have been saved from British Columbia’s coastal waters, along with one endangered beluga whale that was returned to the ocean on the east coast.

According to the centre, harbour seals give birth throughout the summer months and will sometimes leave their newborns to rest while they forage for food. However, a team will not remove the animal from nature unless necessary and this year, the centre said most of the animals that were rescued did need medical attention.

WATCH: Seal pups at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. Credit: Vancouver Aquarium

The seal pups were admitted with injuries that ranged from dehydration and emaciation to predation and animal attacks.

The rescued animals include:

?We?re happy whenever we can save an animal, no matter how big or small. It?s why we do what we do,? Lindsaye Akhurst, manager of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, said in a release. ?When we can alleviate suffering and save a life, it?s gratifying ? and we?re saving a lot of lives this year.?

The centre said every rescue helps scientists understand more about the state of the coastal ecosystem and what threats the animals are facing.

?Diagnosing, treating and releasing these animals increases our understanding of the threats these species face,? Akhurst said. ?Every animal we work with can shed further insight into contaminants, biotoxins, and infectious diseases that can also affect ecosystem health.?

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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