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Levi: The Stranded
Harbour Porpoise


The Rescue

Levi, a harbour porpoise, was found stranded on the shoreline of Saanich Inlet on March 26, 2013, and brought to the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, as part of a collaborative rescue effort with Cetus Research and Conservation Society and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). Too weak to swim on his own, Levi was placed in a specially-designed flotation sling and hand-fed nutrients while staff kept a watchful eye on the ailing animal.

Levi sling
Ultrasound

Rehabilitation

After a series of diagnostic tests, the veterinary team at the Rescue Centre determined that, in addition to severe health problems caused by stranding, Levi had a large, lung-parasite infection and was suspected to have hearing loss. Over the following months, the veterinary team treated Levi’s lung infection, and worked intensely with him to regain his strength through physiotherapy. Although his progress was slow, he eventually began eating herring on his own and continued to gain strength. By late summer, Levi had begun to display marked improvements. He was swimming on his own, foraging for live fish, and tests showed that his hearing issues had resolved with time.

The Release

Levi and his veterinary team had defied the odds ‒ by early September, his health had improved dramatically and he was deemed releasable by DFO. On September 10, 2013, the veterinary team outfitted Levi with a SPLASH tag, a satellite-linked transmitter made by Wildlife Computers, which enabled the Rescue Centre team to closely monitor his progress. The tag provided data to track Levi’s travel, monitor his dive depths and measure how long he is able to dive ‒ data that helped to ensure he successfully transitioned back to life in the wild. After the tag was attached, Levi was transported by boat to Saanich Inlet, where veterinary staff released him back to his natural habitat, under the direction of Dr. Haulena and with support from DFO.

Levi swimming away
 
 
 
Jellyfish

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