VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A baby sea otter, thought to be between two and four weeks old, is now receiving 24-hour care at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. The pup was rescued after some people found it swimming alone in open water off northern Vancouver Island this past Sunday.
— NEWS 1130 (@NEWS1130) June 28, 2017
Staff say the pup looks healthy but he needs constant care, just as he would from his mother. Volunteers are taking shifts feeding, bathing and grooming the otter which hasn’t been named yet.
“Sea otters have high energetic needs, after birth they spend about six months with mom, nursing, being groomed by her and learning to forage and be a sea otter, so this little guy is still a fully dependent pup. He would not survive on his own, and we’re providing him with the care he needs right now,” says Lindsaye Akhurst, manager of the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.
The facility says the pup approached some boaters and then followed the boat for a little while. They didn’t notice any adult sea otters in the water. Once they made it to Port Hardy, Fisheries and Oceans Canada arranged to transfer the otter to the Vancouver Aquarium. “Once they’re removed from the wild it’s impossible to determine if the mother is alive and if they could have been reunited, or if bringing him in was the appropriate action,” adds Akhurst.
The mammal rescue centre says this year’s rescue season has been really busy. In addition to the otter, a California sea lion, a Steller sea lion pup, and 29 harbour seals are being cared for.
If you see a stranded marine mammal, do not approach it and keep pets away. Call the rescue centre at 604.258.SEAL (7325).