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

Just Posted

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island teen was discovered

Lack of consultation on Chemainus Road corridor project irks business owners, residents

Surprise expressed over change to anticipated North Cowichan plans

‘Nearly Neil’ show is coming to Lake Cowichan Legion Aug. 24

Get the gang together and come out for a great night of Neil Diamond songs

VIDEO: Outstanding young performers come forward year after year

Valley’s emerging talent never ceases to amaze local audiences

Experience automotive classics and more at the Vancouver Island Concours d’Elegance

Motorcar Weekend features Show and Shine, high-end Concours division, all for a great cause

VIDEO: Canadian zoos’ captive breeding programs help preserve endangered species

Programs considered last-ditch effort to prevent local extinctions of turtles, butterflies and more

Man launches petition to bring charter schools to B.C.

The move could see up to 20 charter schools come to the province

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Environment groups warned saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan

Talk of climate change could be viewed as advocating against Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada

Search crews find 4-year-old boy who went missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Most Read