A well-meaning person brought this seal pup, now named Shellen Degeneres, to the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. Staff say people should leave the pups alone and call authorities. (OceanWise)

Leave them alone: Vancouver Aquarium issues warning after several seal pups ‘disturbed’

Rescue centre staff report seeing more seal pups who’ve been handled inappropriately by humans

Staff at the Vancouver Aquarium’s rescue centre have admitted 11 harbour seal pups since the end of June after they’d been “disturbed” by well-meaning humans.

“Once a pup has been removed from its natural environment, it makes it difficult to be reunited with mom, and then we have no choice but to rehabilitate them,” said Emily Johnson, assistant manager at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre in a news release Thursday, noting some of the 11 pups needed saving, while others did not.

“It’s imperative that humans and pets leave them alone. It’s a perfectly natural situation and it does not mean the pups have been deserted or orphaned.”

Would-be Good Samaritans have patted the seals on the head, picked them up and carried them back into the water, and fed them things like oysters, milk and even a chicken drumstick.

READ MORE: Harbour seal found with 23 shotgun pellets in face

People have hung babies upside down by their flippers to take pictures.

One person called centre staff to report an orphaned pup, but then drove it to a vet clinic and dropped it off.

Another woman put a pup in her bathtub before she called officials.

“One man scooped up two newborn seal pups in a couch cushion case, zipped them up, and put them in the backseat of his car next to his dog to drive them over,” the news release said.

VIDEO: Northern fur seal pup rescued near B.C. fish farm

If you see a seal pup on its own, leave it alone, keep yourself and others, including pets, at a safe distance, and call the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604-258-SEAL (7325) or the Fisheries and Oceans Canada hotline at 1-800-465-4336.

“We want to make sure that every pup reported is indeed separated from its mom because we know that a healthy pup’s best chance of survival is being raised by its mother,” Johnson said.

Ninety-three seals have been admitted to the centre so far this year.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wildfire north of Cowichan Lake now largely under control

Crews have been on the scene since Friday

Maple Bay man rushed to hospital after being trapped under car

BC Ambulance and Maple Bay Fire Department attend scene on Wednesday morning

Air ambulance called to possible drowning in North Cowichan

Status of patient unknown at press time

B.C. doctors, dentists call on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Facebook launches its new TikTok clone, Instagram Reels

Facebook has a long tradition of cloning competitive services

B.C. Appeal Court prevents Victoria woman from using the term ‘death midwife’ in her job

Pashta MaryMoon claimed she had been providing “death-care services” for more than 40 years

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

B.C. fish harvesters receive long-awaited details on pandemic benefits

Applications to the $470-million federal assistance programs will open Aug. 24

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

Most Read