Let Those Seal Pups Be!

“Leave those seal pups alone,” is the plea the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre sent out a plea to the public this week.

This little guy was found separated from his mom in Cowichan Bay. Photo courtesy of Vancouver Aquarium MMRC.

This little guy was found separated from his mom in Cowichan Bay. Photo courtesy of Vancouver Aquarium MMRC.

The city aquarium, which is heavily involved in ocean sustainability and marine rescue, said it has been inundated with an increase of inappropriate human behavior this year with regards to harbour seal pups.

Leading the long list of questionable judgement is a woman who took a pup home and put it in her bathtub and another who fed a seal pup a chicken drumstick.

There have also been reports of people putting the pups back in the water, feeding them unnatural items such as cow’s milk as well as patting them and then hanging them upside down by their flippers to take photographs. Um, yeah.

Come on, people! Get some sense!

It is not unusual to see a seal pup on its own at this time of the year. Unlike some other marine animals, their mothers must go out to the sea to forage to sustain lactation. This can sometimes take several hours and the babies are often left on the beach. Those who are educated in the ways of marine life know to quietly observe from a distance and prevent pets and others from approaching the pup.

It is still a good idea to call the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre to report its location in the rare occurrence the pup has indeed been abandoned. Trained staff and volunteers at the MMRC will then start a case file for each reported animal and collect information and pictures to examine the pup’s body condition to see if it requires human veterinary assistance.

So far this year 93 seals have been admitted to the rescue centre.

It’s amazing that so many people are so uneducated when it comes to nature, despite living right next to it. Perhaps schools need to do a better job educating children about how nature works, especially in places such as Vancouver where it’s on our doorstep. We’re so tired of hearing about human silliness when it comes to disturbing nature and the sad consequences, whether it be bothering seal pups, cutting trees down while birds are nesting, and not securing garbage bins where bears are present.

The number for the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre is 604-258-SEAL (7325). Calling the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is another good option and their hotline is 1-800-465-4336.