This young fur seal was successfully rehabilitated at the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre and released back into the wild off a Ucluelet Beach on Thursday. (Photo - Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)

VIDEO: Rescued fur seal released in Ucluelet

Employees of Mowi salmon farm near Hardwicke Island saw animal floating sideways and unable to dive

A young northern fur seal excitedly toddled off a Ucluelet beach and back into the ocean on Thursday after spending the past six months rehabilitating at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

The seal, named Mo, did not look back as she raced back into the wild, according to a media release from Vancouver Aquarium on Friday.

Data from a satellite transmitter fitted onto the small animal’s head showed that she headed straight for the open ocean. The transmitter is expected to remain on Mo for several weeks and the release states that the public will soon be able to track Mo’s movements at https://rescue.ocean.org/map.

Mo was rescued in January when employees of a Mowi salmon farm near Hardwicke Island saw her floating sideways and unable to dive, according to the release.

She was brought to the Rescue Centre where staff determined the 7-month-old animal was dangerously underweight.

“We never know how successful each pup’s recovery will be, but our objective is always a full rehabilitation and return to the ocean,” said Rescue Centre manager Lindsaye Akhurst. “Mo is an energetic and spirited animal, which served her well as she recuperated and will help her thrive now that she’s back in the ocean.”

The Rescue Centre expressed gratitude for the Mowi employees who rescued Mo as well as to Pacific Coastal Airlines for donating flights.

“It’s always wonderful to see how much people in this province care about our marine mammals and step up to help us save them,” Akhurst said.

Northern fur seals rarely leave the ocean and are listed as “threatened” by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

They were hunted into near extinction in the early 1900s, but populations began to recover after the species was granted international protection in 1911, according to the release.

“Since the 1970s, pup production in the Bering Sea’s Pribilof Islands (their main breeding site) has slumped by about 50 per cent, and continues to drop by about 6–7 per cent every year,” it states.

Ocean Wise scientists are researching potential causes for that decline and believe killer whale predation, competition with fisheries, and climate change are key culprits.

Anyone who spots a marine mammal in distress is urged to report their sighting to the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604-258-7325 or the Fisheries and Oceans Hotline at 1-800-465-4336.

Anyone wanting to support the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre is encouraged to visit support.vanaqua.org/seals.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: VIDEO: Rescued eagle released in Ucluelet

READ MORE: Sea lion shot in Ucluelet euthanized at Vancouver Aquarium

READ MORE: Sea turtle rescued near Ucluelet heads home

Just Posted

Nanaimo Timbermen in five-way tie for first place

Senior A lacrosse team has a home game Saturday, July 20

Nanaimo Ladysmith education support workers reach tentative three-year deal

Union membership to vote on collective agreement on July 31

Advocates for now-closed Nanaimo soup kitchen ask for city’s help

Wisteria Community Association’s Stone Soup shut down following eviction of owners this week

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall last night

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

Nanaimo Marine Festival honouring tubbing’s ‘mom’

Longtime volunteer Margaret Johnson depicted on souvenir coins and named parade marshal

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Nanaimo mom says she will go to court to try to get allegedly abducted daughter back

Tasha Brown says her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

Dormant Chemainus Foods building to be revived with new market

Initiative expected to bring new life to the community’s downtown core

Local artist explores Nanaimo’s old Chinatown in new video installation

Charlotte Zhang among eight artists in Nanaimo Art Gallery’s ‘Estuary’ exhibition starting this week

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Three blocks of Bruce Avenue will be closed until fall

Work will include utility upgrades, new curbs and sidewalks and new on-street bike lanes

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Most Read