The Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Program is a hospital and care facility for sick, injured or orphaned marine mammals. Each year, the rescue program saves over 100 marine mammals and rehabilitates them for release back into their natural habitat. The Vancouver Aquarium also provides a new home for those animals who can no longer survive in the wild. But a proposed bylaw by the Vancouver Park Board to ban cetaceans – whales, dolphins, and porpoises – from the Aquarium puts this important work at risk.
The Marine Mammal Rescue program assists distressed marine mammals from the British Columbia coastline, whose patients range from elephant and harbour seals, sea otters, sea lions, sea turtles, harbour porpoises and other cetaceans including killer whales.
The Marine Mammal Rescue Centre is a hospital for sick, injured, or orphaned marine mammals. Throughout an animal's rehabilitation, a healthy, low-stress environment is essential in order to keep them true to their "wild" nature.
Our primary goal is to rehabilitate marine mammals for release back into their natural habitat. Thorough medical exams help ensure that our patients have the best possible chance of long-term survival once released.
With the release of Levi—the harbour porpoise— by the MMR, in September 2013 we made our new GPS enabled tracking feature public. Here you can see where Levi went during the 70 day lifespan of his tracker. You can also see any active trackers with released seals.
Rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals is a highly labour-intensive process. We're lucky to have many dedicated volunteers, however the costs of medications, veterinary care, animal food and more add up quickly. Our work relies heavily on the support of our donors.
The Vancouver Aquarium has been involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals for over forty years. Over the years we have rescued, rehabilitated and successfully released many animals, including harbour seals, California sea lions, Steller sea lions, elephant seals, a killer whale and a harbour porpoise.
Our Marine Mammal Rescue team includes a highly trained staff veterinarian (as well as several consulting veterinarians), animal health technicians, animal care and rehabilitation specialists, and many many dedicated volunteers.
On July 10, 2014, Marine Mammal Rescue Centre staff were alerted to a young false killer whale who was thrashing in the surf near Tofino’s North Chesterman beach. As Canada’s only team of professional rescue staff readily available to save stranded cetaceans, Marine Mammal Rescue Centre staff were brought in from Vancouver to save the distressed false killer whale.