The Vancouver Aquarium has been involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals for over forty years. In that time, the Marine Mammal Rescue centre has grown from admitting one or two animals in a season, to admitting nearly 100 in some years.
The program currently admits over 100 distressed marine mammals per year. Each of these animals requires our expert veterinary treatment and supportive care to recuperate before they are released back into the ocean.
The Marine Mammal Rescue centre is run without governmental operational support.
Species and Range
The program is available to assist distressed marine mammals from the length of the British Columbia coastline.
Elephant seals, sea otters, Steller sea lions, harbour porpoises, sea turtles, common dolphins, and killer whales have all been the subjects of our efforts, but neonate (newborn) harbour seals are the most commonly admitted patients to the Marine Mammal Rescue centre.
The current facilities of the Marine Mammal centre allow for on-site rehabilitation of seals, sea lions, sea otters, and small cetaceans such as harbour porpoises. The rescue of larger marine mammals would involve the use of ocean pens or other secondary facilities.
The primary goal of the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre is to provide housing and care for ill, injured, or abandoned marine mammals and to rehabilitate them for release back into their natural habitat.
Additional program goals include:
Establishing written protocols for the rehabilitation of different marine mammal species in order to serve as a resource in the event of natural or man-made disasters that impact upon marine mammals.
Monitoring the status of wild populations through the scientific study of ill or orphaned marine mammals treated by the Aquarium
Performing a public service to offer assistance to marine mammals that may be in peril due to habitat destruction and environmental damage caused by humans
Educating the public on how to properly respond to apparently stranded or diseased marine mammals
DFO Strait of Georgia Ecosystem Research Initiative
DFO P. 2021. Kaouk - The Trailer Park Steller Sea Lion. Data downloaded from OBIS-SEAMAP (http://seamap.env.duke.edu/dataset/734) on yyyy-mm-dd and originated from Satellite Tracking and Analysis Tool (STAT; http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/index.shtml?project_id=601).
A male Steller sea lion was brought to the Vancouver Aquraium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre (MMR) on December 18, 2010. He was found the day prior, wandering around a trailer park in Port Alice, BC over 300 metres away from the ocean. Concerned citizens of the trailer park called Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Officer Greg Plummer came to assess the situation. The rescue centre was then called and pictures of the animal were sent to allow the staff to be able to evaluate the sea lion. It was noted by staff veterinarian Dr. Haulena that the animal looked underweight and dehydrated, and because of the unusual behavior of the animal, he felt that the sea lion should be brought into the rescue centre for more of an evaluation. Arrangements were made with DFO to collect and house the animal over night, so he could be on the first plane to Vancouver in the am via Pacific Coast Airlines.
Once at the centre, “Kaouk” (as named by Greg Plummer) settled in nicely and was examined by staff. Despite being underweight and dehydrated, he seemed in fairly decent condition and was started on a diet of herring, which was slowly increased over time. As his herring amounts increased, so did his activity level and subsequently his waist line did as well. He ate very well from his first meal to his last at MMR, over doubling his weight from 50 kg, to over 110 kg! Once at a releasable weight and health, it was decided by DFO and Aquarium staff that he was happy and healthy enough to return to the wild. On March 17, 2011 he did just that and was released off the West Coast of Vancouver Island at Toquart Bary in Barkley Sound.
Before he was released, Kaouk was outfitted with a satellite tag to be able to monitor his whereabouts. This site was established so you too can monitor his daily activity.
Kaouk is the first Steller sea lion to be released from MMR and the first animal to be released from MMR outfitted with a satellite tracker. A big Thank you to Fisheries and Oceans Canada for your support and supplying the satellite and VHF tracking system for Kaouk.
This section explains attributes included in the original dataset.
OBIS-SEAMAP restricts the attributes available to the public to date/time, lat/lon and species names/counts only.
Should you need other attributes described here, you are encouraged to contact the data provider.
Attributes described below represent those in the original dataset provided by the provider.
Only minimum required attributes are visible and downloadable online. Other attributes may be obtained upon provider's permission.
Attributes in dataset
Attribute (table column)
Number of messages received
definition not provided
Best signal strength in dB
Pass duration in seconds
Number Of Plausibility Checks successful (from 0-4)