DFO Strait of Georgia Ecosystem Research Initiative
Originating data centerSatellite Tracking and Analysis Tool (STAT)
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