For more than 50 years, the Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre (MMR) has been in place to rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals found injured, ill or abandoned until they are healthy enough to be returned to their natural habitats. MMR is operated solely by theVancouver Aquarium and receives no ongoing operational funds from either the provincial or federal governments.
The program is available to assist distressed marine mammals from the length of the British Columbia coastline. Sea otters, California and Steller sea lions, elephant seals, cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) and sea turtles have all been the subjects of our efforts. On average, we admit and treat more than 150 patients per year.
Last year, generous funding from the Gordon and Patricia Gray Animal Welfare Foundation enabled the purchase of an anesthetic machine and ventilator, as well as a Surgivet Advisor (vital signs monitor). The equipment has already been put to good use on a number of harbour seals that were rescued, rehabilitated and released back to the wild, as well as two male sea otters that were rescued.
Wally is a rescued and rehabilitated sea otter who was found in October off the coast of Vancouver Island in distress. It turns out he had been severely injured by a shotgun blast, and is now permanently blind. The Marine Mammal Rescue team performed multiple surgeries on Wally, and were greatly aided by the equipment provided by the Gordon and Patricia Gray Animal Welfare Foundation.
In 2014, another sea otter was found stranded and in distress on Vancouver Island. For 11 weeks, the Marine Mammal Rescue team worked to help him, but unfortunately, Whiffen passed away.
The work that the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre team does has been greatly aided by the support of the Gordon and Patricia Gray Animal Welfare Foundation. On behalf of our staff, volunteers and the animals both in our care and those that have been treated and released, thank you very much!