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Rehabilitating Our
Patients For The Wild



Each new arrival is placed under quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. Marine mammals arriving at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre may be suffering from bacterial, viral or parasitic infections. Their immune systems may be compromised, perhaps because of disease, the stress involved with capture and transport, or underdeveloped immunity. We don't risk transmitting disease from one patient to another.

All staff and volunteers associated with the MMR Centre are trained in proper quarantine protocols, including how to minimize the risk of disease transmission, before they work directly with any animals.

Seal Pup in Quarantine
Seal Pup Assessment


Upon arrival, each animal is given a thorough physical examination, which includes body measurements, sensory and musculoskeletal systems examination and behaviour observation. The animal's whole body is carefully examined for wounds, external parasites or abnormalities. Hydration levels and lungs are assessed, and age is estimated using markers such as tooth size and type of fur. A blood sample is drawn and sent for laboratory analysis, where our veterinary staff uses the results to determine a course of treatment. After the initial examination is complete, each individual animal gets a tailored treatment and feeding protocol.


Initial feedings are usually designed to rehydrate new patients at the Rescue Centre, before administering feeding regimens tailored to their specific conditions. For example, after rehydration, seal pup patients are fed a specially designed fish formula that is high in calories and nutrients. This formula imitates the rick milk of a mother harbour seal. As a pup gets older and its condition improves, the process of weaning begins by introducing whole fish. Older animals admitted to the Rescue Centre, if in stable condition, are offered high quality fish after their initial rehydration. We carefully monitor the diet of all animals in our care.

Tube feeding a baby seal


Wild animals are adapted to avoid showing signs of weakness and disease, as this could make them more susceptible to predatory attack. Sometimes animals will exhibit very few outward signs of illness until their condition is quite progressed. Keeping this in mind, it’s important for us to closely monitor the condition of the marine mammals in our care. Staff and volunteers at MMR are trained to perform regular daily observations. Animal behaviour is monitored continuously, as is appetite and frequency of bowel movements. Any changes in behaviour or apparent condition are reported to the animal care team.


Cleaning the animals, facilities and equipment is an important part of the daily duties at MMR. Staff and volunteers spend a good portion of their day ensuring that all areas of the Centre are spotless. No opportunity is provided for harmful bacterial growth or cross-contamination to occur. Each morning, animals in our care and their enclosures are cleaned thoroughly. The water in our pools and tubs is filtered or replaced to ensure a healthy environment for our recuperating patients. This process continues throughout the day.

Dr Haulena with Seal Pup

Veterinary Care

Each animal receives qualified veterinary care at MMR. Veterinarians and animal health technicians are part of the MMR team, and other animal care staff and volunteers are also trained in veterinary procedures and protocols.

After the initial assessment, animals start an individual treatment regimen specific to their needs. Treatment may include rehydration, wound cleaning and care, parasite removal, or antibiotic therapy for those suffering from bacterial infection. Throughout their stay at the Rescue Centre, we closely monitor their conditions, and the veterinary team performs more intensive surgeries or other procedures as needed.


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