Featured / VanAqua Moments

Rescue Stories

Find out how the Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre – the only one of its kind in Canada – helps marine mammals in distress.

Rescue stories

Sea otters

Get to know the Aquarium's resident rescued sea otters

Ocean rescue

See the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre team in action

Meet the team

Watch our passionate veterinary team save lives


VanAqua Moments – Rescue Stories

Stranded seal and sea otter pups, entangled sea lions, and other marine mammals in distress get a second chance thanks to our Marine Mammal Rescue Centre team and their rescue and rehabilitation efforts.


Scroll down to go behind the scenes. Meet the passionate people who make this critical work happen and the charismatic animals in their care. Every time you visit the Vancouver Aquarium, you support our mission to protect marine life through rescue, research, conservation and education.

Sea Otters

More than just a fuzzy face

Learn more about the six rescued sea otters that call Vancouver Aquarium home and meet the marine mammal trainers who develop a strong, trusting relationship with these creatures, providing exceptional animal care. 


A day in the life of an otter trainer

Senior marine mammal trainer Kristi Heffron must have the coolest job in the world – caring for rescued sea otters.


Cute sea otter behaviour decoded

They hold paws. They wrestle. They rub their fuzzy faces. But why? Find out the science behind those otter-ly adorable behaviours.


Meet the sea otters

The six rescued sea otters at the Vancouver Aquarium have distinct characteristics and behaviours. See them shine in this photo gallery.

Ocean Rescue

Marine mammal rescue in action

Every year, the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre rescues, rehabilitates and releases more than 150 marine mammals to the ocean. This work is done by passionate staff and volunteers and changes the future for these rescued animals. Explore the inspiring stories behind the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.


Giving animals a second chance at life

The Marine Mammal Rescue Centre team works around the clock to rescue and rehabilitate seal pups, sea otters, sea lions, porpoises, and whales from threats at sea.


Meet super volunteer Bob Ostle

There’s nothing quite like helping an injured animal return to its ocean home. Bob Ostle is one of the long-term volunteers at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.


Harbour seals released to the ocean

At the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, once orphaned or injured seal pups are returned to their ocean home.

Meet the Team

Real life heros

Meet Vancouver Aquarium’s head vetrinarian Dr. Martin Haulena. He and his team team free sea lions entangled in marine debris and help struggling killer whales in the wild. It’s as cool as it sounds.


Helping animals in need

From a young age, Dr. Martin Haulena was destined to help and heal marine animals in distress.


Marine plastic matters

Marine plastic isn't just ugly; it does real harm. Dr. Martin Haulena and the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre team set out to disentangle sea lions from ocean debris.


Trying to save a wild whale

A four-year-old killer whale was on the brink of death. The Vancouver Aquarium’s head veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena discusses the mission to inject antibiotics – via dart gun – to the whale.

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