A baby seal, likely born premature due to still being covered in fur, was rescued Thursday (May 27) in Coal Harbour on northern Vancouver Island.
Alyssa Berube, a member of the Tri-Port Wildlife Response Team, said the baby seal was first spotted without its mother on Tuesday and the original finder of the animal “handled it when they shouldn’t have.”
By Wednesday, the seal had disappeared, only to then show up again alone on Thursday. After the animal was reported to DFO and the Marine Mammal Rescue (MMR) Centre, Berube was then called by MMR and asked if she could grab the baby seal and drive it down to the Campbell River airport for transport to Vancouver.
“The way I handle and transport animals is all based on rules and guidelines given by MMR,” said Berube. “Seals can carry bacteria that humans can catch if not wearing a mask. This baby didn’t have teeth yet but leather gloves are always a must. No blankets in kennel. Do not try and feed.”
Berube was able to make it to Campbell River in time, and the baby seal, named Marzipan, arrived in Vancouver by 7:40 p.m. Thursday night.
Disturbing a marine mammal is a federal offence. Officials are reminding the public to stay back when they see a marine mammal in distress, to keep other people and pets away, and call the rescue centre at 604-258-7325 or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans hotline at 1-800-465-4336.