Friday the rescued Harbour Seal is back. We returned him near to where his life began.

His care and transport are thanks to Marine Mammal Rescue, Pacific Coastal Airlines and the North Island Veterinary Hospital.

On June 17th, it was determined by Marine Mammal Rescue that this neonate seal pup was indeed in trouble. We collected him from Telegraph Cove and he was flown to the rescue centre in Vancouver.

Yesterday, we had the joy of arranging his release. We are very grateful for that and to those who gave permission to release him where we did. Such great thanks to all who helped with his care.

Welcome home Friday.


We are sharing information about this seal’s rescue to increase knowledge about what to do (and not to do) when it’s suspected that a seal pup may be in trouble, and to update the many who helped care for this pup.


Background:

This very young Harbour Seal pup was first seen in Telegraph Cove without a mother on June 16th. Several people knew to call the DFO Incident Reporting Line at 1-800-465-4336 and Marine Mammal Rescue at ‭604-258-SEAL / 7325‬.

Sometimes bad decisions are made by well-intentioned people because they do not know mother seals need to go on feeding trips and leave their pups for a little while.

Calling Marine Mammal Rescue allows for experts to determine if rescue is needed by determining the health of the pup and having the pup monitored in case the mother returns.

In this case, Telegraph Cove’s The Whale Interpretive Centre was an important contact in monitoring the seal pup.

On June 17th it was determined that the mother had not returned and that it would be best to intervene.

We brought the pup to the North Island Veterinary Hospital where there was great kindness by Dr Reid and Emily Gatto in doing a check-up and administering fluids. Friday was left at the veterinary hospital in a quiet, cool place until closer to the time when the flight would depart for Vancouver.

Then we brought him to Pacific Coastal Airlines in Port Hardy for his flight to Vancouver. Pacific Coastal is so generous in their transport of animals in need of care.

He was nicknamed Friday Island by Marine Mammal Rescue and was at the rehabilitation centre for 96 days.


Lanugo is an indicator that he may have been premature as this hair is usually shed before birth. Photo on the right taken 9 days after Friday arrived at Marine Mammal Rescue. Photos ©Marine Mammal Rescue.


Video of Friday’s return: Scott Turton, Jackie Hildering and Marieke Knierim. Photos as credited on the images. For the keenly observant, Friday has a biodegradable ID tag on his head.

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