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The Release Is
The Most Rewarding Part


Release Criteria

We've established criteria to ensure that any marine mammals being released into wild populations have the best possible chance of long-term survival. Marine mammal patients receive a thorough medical examination to ensure that they're clinically healthy and free from disease. They must also be at a satisfactory weight for their species. Marine mammals rely on their blubber to keep them warm, as well as to provide a source of calories when food is scarce. Lastly, they must be behaviorally competent. When appropriate, marine mammal patients are given "live fish trials" before release, to test how well they can hunt and catch live feed. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is the authority that makes the final decision on whether an animal can be released.

Seal Pup Released
Released Seal Pup

The Release Day

Once a marine mammal patient has been deemed healthy and competent, it's time for them to return to the wild. Release days are incredibly rewarding for the staff and volunteers who have worked hard to help a marine mammal recuperate. The animals are taken to various release sites that are carefully selected by the Marine Mammal Rescue and Rehabilitation team. Release locations are usually sheltered, calm bays or coves, where newly released animals can take some time to readjust to life in the wild.

Post-Release Tracking

Each marine mammal has a small orange plastic tag placed between the webbing of their hind flippers before they're released. This tag has a number on it, which will identify the animal if it is sighted in the wild.

Seal release

Host Your Own Release

Hosting a seal release is a meaningful way to directly support the work of the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. Hosts can invite family members and friends to 'sponsor' an animal and have a hands-on role returning one or more marine mammals to the wild. Locations can include secluded marine parks, private boats, or private waterfront property. Please contact us for more information at 604-659-3472 or donation@vanaqua.org.


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