A newborn seal pup discovered by loggers at Western Forest Products’ Jeune Landing sort is recovering at Vancouver’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre after a rescue operation involving numerous volunteers.
Members of WFP’s boom crew discovered the pup laying on a log boom the morning of June 28.
“They figured it was less than 24 hours old, and could see no mother around,” said Mackenzie Leine, WFP communications coordinator. “We curtailed operations and avoided booming more wood in hopes the mother would come back.”
While the crew kept an eye on the pup and the water, operations manager Brad Baron contacted marine naturalist Jackie Hildering, who put him in touch with staff at MMRC. Based on descriptions of the pup provided by Baron, the rescue centre suggested the pup had been born prematurely.
“They said it probably wouldn’t have survived if its mother took it into the water, as it wasn’t able to regulate its body temperature yet,” said Leine.
The crew continued to watch for the mother throughout the day. But as the shift drew to a close, and with the Canada Day long weekend ahead, a decision had to be made about the little seal’s fate.
“It couldn’t stay overnight with eagles and bears and cougars around,” Leine said. “It would have been easy pickings.”
When the crew boat, Mahatta II, came to the boom, the seal, which the crew named Titan, was loaded for a trip to Port Hardy Veterinary Hospital, where it was kept overnight.
The following morning, June 29, Titan was transported to Campbell River by Carmen Pendleton and Jess Fargher, a pair of naturalists working for the summer with Stubbs Island Whale Watching.
From Campbell River, it was flown at no cost by Pacific Coastal Airlines to the rescue centre, where this week it was reportedly doing well and gaining weight.
“My understanding is the intent is to have it released into the wild,” said Leine. She went on to say the rescue by the crew is fairly uncommon, but is certainly not the first.
“Because our operations are on the coast and the water in remote areas, we certainly interface with wildlife,” she said. “Occasionally we do come across situations where there are animals in need. When these things come up we have a high level of care when it comes to wildlife.”