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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Check out a new future at career and education fair in Comox

Event today features booths from more than 40 employers and educational institutions

North Island College’s pop-up restaurant returns to The Park in Comox

North Island College tourism and hospitality students are joining forces with chef… Continue reading

Cumberland council shows support for decriminalization of drugs

Council responded to a recent request from Comox Valley couple who lost son

Comox Valley wheelchair sports all about inclusion

By Jamie Bowman Special to The Record When occupational therapist Carolyn Harmatiuk… Continue reading

All Carlton Cards stores closing in the coming weeks

Schurman Retail Group stores across North America will close, including 79 in Canada

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets for the week of Jan. 21

Bouquets to and from the Adopt-a-Grandparent program; beef to people setting off fireworks

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Most Read