An abandoned harbour seal pup affectionately named Mr. Magoo is in the caring hands of Vancouver Aquarium staff, thanks to a passerby who alerted the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS).
The male pup was emaciated when he was discovered Oct. 18 on a beach near Eagles Drive Park in Area C. Turns out the seal is blind, thus the nickname taken from the cartoon character.
“Initially what we do is just rescue, and make sure the animal is in good enough shape to transport,” MARS manager Robert McLennan said. “If there’s an immediate need for treatment (such as dehydration) we can do minor things like that. Rehabilitation is done by the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre in Vancouver (at the aquarium). We act kind of as an intermediary.”
Mr. Magoo was airlifted to the aquarium for treatment.
He is one of 56 seal pups on a patient list, where he has been named Azabat — as in ‘Blind as a bat.’
Staff don’t know how long Azabat has been blind. He would have been born in July or August.
He is being tube fed a fish mash to increase his weight.
“His body condition wasn’t horrible, so he was obviously eating out there,” a vet tech said. “He probably hasn’t been with his mom since September. This injury or disease would have happened in the past few weeks…There are blind adult seals in the wild, or one-eyed seals. But given his age, I don’t think he really had a chance. He was at that point where he was learning to be independent and fish on his own. A critical time in his life — he was definitely rescued for a good reason.”
McLennan is thankful the passerby notified MARS.
“It’s great that the public knows to call us,” he said.
To report orphaned, ill or injured wildlife, call 250-337-2021. The after-hours number is 250-897-2257.