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

Finalists announced for Golden Brush Awards

Event taking place Saturday, Oct. 26

Chemainus firefighters respond to series of calls

Residents thankful for efforts on Thanksgiving weekend

Region residents have many candidates to consider Oct. 21

MacGregor, Manly seeking to regain Member of Parliament posts in their ridings

Cougars working hard to improve with each game

Senior girls volleyball team continually learning early in the season

VIDEO: U.S. officials refute British couple’s ‘accidental’ border-crossing claim

Authorities say couple was arrested after illegal entry from B.C., with $16,000 and marijuana

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

One person hurt in crash at busy Nanaimo intersection

Minivan, sport utility vehicle collide at old Island Highway, Bowen Road and Norwell Drive

Two RCMP vehicles vandalized in Duncan over long weekend

Local Mounties asking for help in finding culprits

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Most Read