An “unusual rescue” unfolded at Blackie Spit over the weekend.
Surrey RCMP responded to the South Surrey waterfront at around 8:30 a.m. on Sunday (May 22), after beachgoers reported concern for an apparently abandoned newborn seal.
“The pup appeared to be abandoned on the beach and so police placed the pup into a bucket of water and contacted the Vancouver Aquarium,” Cpl. Vanessa Munn told Peace Arch News.
“A representative from the Aquarium attended and believed that the pup was likely pre-mature therefore abandoned by its mother.”
Glenn Petersen was at the beach when it all unfolded and said the pup, with its umbilical cord still attached, was stranded near the tip of the spit, with an eagle circling above.
“Concerned individuals called in the situation, and after saving the little tyke the officers were awaiting the arrival of Vancouver Aquarium staff who were on their way to pick it up,” Petersen told Peace Arch News by email.
“Hopefully it all goes well!”
Dubbed Timbit – this year’s naming theme for such rescues is ‘Sweet Treats,’ a news release explains of the moniker – the young harbour seal was the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre’s first patient of the 2022 pupping season.
Officials with the program – which rescues, rehabilitates and releases more than 150 marine animals every year – said upon attendance, members of the rescue team determined the pup was weak and required transport.
It’s believed the youngster had been on the shore “for an extended period of time.”
Its name was chosen due to the white fur coat called lanugo that is typical for pups born early in the season, the release explains.
Since arriving at the rescue centre, he has been tube-fed five times a day and given supplementary fluid therapy.
“Because of human interference or separation from their mothers, these seal pups require the care of the specialized staff at MMR,” the release continues. “The centre’s goal is to rescue, rehabilitate and release these animals back to the wild.”
The release also included a reminder to the public to not disturb marine mammals that they come across in the wild.
“It is important to remember that it is normal for harbour seal moms to leave their pups on the beach to rest while they forage elsewhere. The best thing you can do if you are observing a seal pup you suspect needs assistance is to keep people and pets back and to call MMR,” said centre manager Lindsaye Akhurst.
The rescue centre may be reached at 604-258-7325 (SEAL).
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