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About The Marine Mammal Rescue Centre


Our Purpose

The Vancouver Aquarium has been involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals for over forty years. The current facilities of the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre allow for on-site rehabilitation of seals, sea lions, sea otters and small cetaceans, such as harbour porpoises. Rescuing larger marine mammals involves the use of ocean pens or other secondary facilities.

Harbour Porpoise At MMR

Species And Range

This program assists distressed marine mammals from British Columbia's coast. Elephant seals, sea otters, Steller sea lions, harbour porpoises, sea turtles, common dolphins, false killer whales and killer whales have all been patients, but newborn (neonate) harbour seals are the most commonly admitted patients to the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

Our Goals

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. We also establish written protocols for the rehabilitation of different marine mammal species and monitor the status of wild populations through the scientific study of ill or orphaned marine mammals treated by the Aquarium.

Flash Gordon the Sea Lion
Injured California Sea Lion Rescue

A Public Service

We perform a public service to assist marine mammals that may be in peril due to habitat destruction and environmental damage caused by humans. We also focus on educating the public on how to properly respond to apparently stranded or diseased marine mammals.

The Wild Side

The MMR Centre is a hospital for sick, injured, or orphaned marine mammals, but it's important that our patients stay true to their wild nature. Unlike domestic animals, wildlife patients can be stressed by spending too much time with humans. To maximize chances of a successful rehabilitation and release, we do not "play" or interact with our patients, except when necessary.

Turnip in a Large Pool
MMR Examination Room

Our Facility

The indoor spaces at the Rescue Centre includes two buildings; one food preparation area, administartive offices with staff and volunteer area, and the other building housing a laboratory, a pharmacy, an examination area, surgical unit and recovery areas for debilitated animals. Our outdoor facilities consist of a variety of holding pools and tubs to suit different sizes and species of marine mammals. Quarantine is critical in wildlife rehabilitation: new arrivals and/or sick animals are kept separated from any healthy marine mammals.

Rescue Crew

The MMR team includes a staff veterinarian (as well as several consulting veterinarians), animal health technicians, animal care and rehabilitation specialists and many dedicated volunteers. All members of the team are highly trained to provide qualified and experienced veterinary care to our animal patients. Our volunteers are essential to our success.

Rescue Crew
SOS Sticker

S.O.S. – Save Our Seals

Each year we rescue and treat over 100 stranded marine animals in need of care. Most of our patients are baby seal pups, and they need your help! Be sure to pick up your I Support Marine Mammal Rescue sticker during your next visit to the Vancouver Aquarium.

Join Our Community

Become a member of our active community online and be a part of the discussion. Share your stories and photos about your experience at the Vancouver Aquarium. You'll also hear about our latest rescues, receive updates on our animals, and be the first to know about news and events.


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Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Anacondas are born with the ability to swim.
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