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Break in at Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre

Last Updated Nov 18, 2016 at 5:17 pm PDT

(Lasia Kretzel, NEWS1130 Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre staff are assessing the health of 42 harbour seals after the building was broken into Thursday night, the same week the facility lost one beluga whale and are treating another for a similar illness.

Manager Lindsaye Akhurst says the break in happened sometime overnight and staff came in Friday morning to find equipment out of place and clothing in various sizes strewn about the facility and in some of the areas that the seals can get to.

“When staff came in their noticed there were a couple t-shirts and up on the area where seals have access to,” she says. “There were some shoes tied to a couple of the enclosures (and) there was a men’s’ belt found in one of the pools.”

None of the seals were visibly hurt, but Akhurst says they are checking them over to make sure.

“I would imagine last night was a pretty stressful night for them,” she says. “They’re not used to, besides ourselves doing general things with them, they’re not used to a lot of commotion around.”

Vancouver Police say they are investigating the break in. Akhurst says they are reviewing security footage from around the building.

The break in comes as the aquarium itself is trying to figure out why Qila the beluga whale died of a mysterious illness earlier this week, and why her mother Aurora is not exhibiting similar symptoms.

Aurora continues to receive intensive care and veterinarians are wait on test results, the aquarium says. They wrote on Twitter that they have flown in a veterinarian from SeaWorld to help.