This is the time of year when new born seal pups are in the area. They may appear to be alone and abandoned.
But just maybe the mother seal is off foraging for food and will return to her pup.
“A mother seal has to feed regularly and can leave her new born pup for an extended period; sometimes for up to 48 hours,” said Warren Warttig, MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre president and professional biologist.
“The new born pup may not be an orphan. And if, through good intentions, the pup is taken to a wildlife refuge – it’s just like kidnapping.”
Each year, MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre receives calls regarding abandoned new born seal pups.
If rescued, these pups must be cared for until they can be transferred to the Vancouver Aquarium, where they are rehabilitated and released again to the wild. Last year, MARS rescued and transferred six seal pups.
“If you find a seal pup that is abandoned or orphaned, call the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue at 604.258.SEAL (7325). Aquarium staff will contact MARS if a rescue is necessary and we’ll respond,” says Reg Westcott, MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre Supervisor.
“We will ensure the seal pup is healthy and we will collaborate with the Vancouver Aquarium to care for the pup until it is ready for transfer.”
MARS, a licensed and regulated facility, has provided rescues, rehabilitation, recovery and release for injured and orphaned wildlife in central and northern Vancouver Island since 1995.
With more than 800 cases in 2015, this volunteer-powered, donor-funded organization is building a new, larger hospital and recovery centre in the Comox Valley.