Marine Mammal Rescue Society Welcomes First Two Seal Pups of 2024


May 29, 2024


Press Releases

Vancouver, B.C. - The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Society (VAMMR) has rescued the first two harbour seal pups of the 2024 season along the coast of British Columbia.

The first rescue was a male harbour seal rescued on Monday, May 27, in White Rock on the breakwater near the iconic Pier. The seal, now named Nelson, is only a few days old and was found dehydrated and underweight due to maternal separation. Found above the high tide line, the malnourished pup, appeared to have become trapped between the rocks. No other adult seals were found in the area. "Monday demonstrates the importance of our community partners, who help make these rescues possible. White Rock Sea Tours provided essential assistance, enabling us to reach the seal, which was only accessible by boat,” said VAMMR Assistant Manager, Emily Johnson.

The second patient arrived first thing Tuesday morning after being found by a contractor at Mosquito Creek Marina. The contractor noticed a struggling seal pup in the water off the dock. The pup, estimated to be only a few hours old, was struggling to stay afloat with the placenta still attached. The mother was nowhere to be found. The premature pup, covered in lanugo, was rescued and is now receiving critical care at the Rescue Centre. The pup has been affectionately named Gustav by one of VAMMR’s supporters.

Harbour seal pups Harbour seal pups

“With the beginning of the harbour seal pupping season, it is important to remind people when they see harbour seal pups by themselves, to stay back and observe from a distance and to call VAMMR or Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) so we can accurately assess each situation. Thankfully, in both rescues, the public did the exact right thing, and we were able to respond quickly,” said Johnson.

"We rescue, rehabilitate, and release over 100 marine animals each year, with more than 80 percent released. If you see a marine mammal that you believe is in distress, stay back, keep other people and animals away, and call the Marine Mammal Rescue Society at 604-258-SEAL (7325) or DFO at 1-800-465-4336," said VAMMR Senior Manager Lindsaye Akhurst.

This year, VAMMR offers a unique opportunity to directly support the rehabilitation of our marine patients through our “Name a Seal Pup” program. With a minimum donation of $500, supporters can name a rescued seal pup and directly contribute to their care and rehabilitation. When you help name a seal pup, you will receive a personalized adoption certificate, an animal card, and exclusive updates about your pup’s recovery. For more details, visit
"Our dedicated team and partners work tirelessly to ensure animals, like Nelson, receive the care they need. Every rescue is a collaborative effort, and we are grateful for the continued support that makes our work possible,” concluded Akhurst.


Photos and video here.
For Nelson 1 and Nelson 2 files, please credit Andrew J. Newman from White Rock Sea Tours.
All other photos and video are Vancouver Aquarium.
For more information:
Todd Hauptman, Communications Manager


About Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Society

The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Society (“VAMMR”) runs Canada's only dedicated marine mammal rescue facility. Each year the team responds to over 300 marine animal emergencies, including the rescue and rehabilitation of sick, injured, or orphaned animals and the disentanglement of sea lions trapped by marine debris. Hundreds of marine mammals (from seals, sea lions, and sea otters to small cetaceans) have been given a second chance at life thanks to VAMMR.

VAMMR is an independent registered charity proud to be working in partnership with the Vancouver Aquarium. Donations will go directly to VAMMR and help rescue, rehabilitate, and release marine mammals in distress. You can provide your support by donating today at

About Vancouver Aquarium

Since opening in 1956, the Vancouver Aquarium has connected more than 40 million people from around the world to our oceans and inspired them to take action to address key threats. Located in Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium is home to hundreds of incredible species. The Vancouver Aquarium is a fully accredited member of Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA), Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA), and Humane Conservation Certified by American Humane. 


FAQ: Name a Seal Pup

What is the Name a Seal Pup program?

Our Name a Seal Pup program allows you to support the care and treatment of a rescued seal pup. By participating, you provide crucial funds that contribute to their care and rehabilitation. As a symbolic parent, you have the unique opportunity to name your adopted seal pup.

How does the naming process work?

Upon your donation, you are invited to submit three names for your seal pup:

  1. Male Name: A name you prefer if the seal pup is a boy.
  2. Female Name: A name you prefer if the seal pup is a girl.
  3. General Name: An alternative name to be used if your preferred male or female names are unavailable.

You may select the same name for all three choices, however, if the name is not available you might be asked to provide a different choice. Please ensure that all names are appropriate and free from any offensive or inappropriate language.

Are there any restrictions on the names I can choose?

Yes, we require that all names be respectful and suitable for a wide audience. Names must not contain any form of swearing, inappropriate language, or offensive content. Our team reserves the right to reject any name that does not meet these criteria.

Can I choose a specific seal pup to name?

Due to the unpredictable nature of animal rescues, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to choose a specific seal pup. The program is designed to support any pup that needs care at the time of your donation. However, your donation will still allow you to name a seal pup that is currently under our care.

What happens if my chosen names are not available?

We will make every effort to use one of your provided names. In cases where none of your chosen names are available (due to previous selections or suitability issues), we will contact you for additional options. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility.

How much does it cost to participate in the Name a Seal Pup program?

The Name a Seal Pup program requires a minimum donation of $500. This donation goes directly towards the care, feeding, and medical treatment of rescued seal pups.

What do I receive as part of naming a seal pup?

As a token of our gratitude, you will receive a downloadable adoption certificate and animal card of your named seal, and updates on their recovery and release back into the wild. This package not only celebrates your contribution but also keeps you connected to the progress of your adopted pup. How do I begin the Name a Seal Pup process?

To start the process, please complete the following form. Once your donation is processed, you will be prompted to submit your name choices and receive further information on the next steps in your adoption journey.

What happens if the seal pup I’ve named passes away?

While we strive to rehabilitate and release all the animals in our care, the reality is that some may not survive due to the severity of their injuries or illnesses. If the seal pup you name passes away, we will inform you at the earliest opportunity. You can choose to have your donation support another seal in need, or it can continue to help fund the general care and rescue operations at our facility. We are deeply committed to providing the best care possible and appreciate your understanding and support in these challenging situations.

Who can I contact if I have more questions?

For more inquiries about the Name a Seal Pup program, please contact us at or call us at (604) 506-2119. We are happy to assist you with any additional information you may need.


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