For over 40 years, The Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre has rescued and rehabilitated over 100 animals per year. The centre is run by Dr. Martin Haulena and a dedicated team of Veterinary Technicians, rehabilitation specialists, and volunteers.
In January, the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre opened the doors to its new hospital. This $544,ooo project was built entirely with money raised by private donations. The new facility, which boasts an exam and surgical suite, a new x-ray machine, and an endoscope, is a dramatic improvement from the previous setup. Prior to the upgrade, Dr. Haulena and his team performed medical procedures in the “Med Shed”, a converted garden shed. This new hospital provides the team with the tools to rescue and rehabilitate even more marine mammals with greater efficiency.
In 2016 alone, the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre treated over 170 animals. Throughout the years, the centre has treated a wide variety of species, including California sea lions, elephant seals, sea turtles, sea otters, harbour porpoises, false killer whales, and harbour seals. Harbour seal pups are the most commonly admitted patients to the rescue centre. Once they are rehabilitated, these harbour seals are released and tracked with telemetry tags, which send information about the animal’s location via satellite signal. Each tag remains adhered to the seal’s pelage until it moults. The telemetry tags enable researchers to learn more about habitat usage and foraging behaviour. It also provides an indication how well the animals do after their release and how well the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre has prepared them for life in their natural habitat, which helps the Resue Centre Team learn how to better help these animals in the future. You can learn more about the valuable contribution of the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at www.vanaqua.org/mmr