A baby seal born prematurely is in the care of the Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre after it was rescued by police.

RCMP in Coquitlam, B.C., say a routine boat patrol found the pup, only a day or two old, in Belcarra's Cosy Cove Wednesday morning.

Officers were flagged down by a man who discovered the animal, which had been left alone by its mother for more than a day and believed abandoned. It was then taken to the wildlife centre.

"Fortunately, our officers have a little bit of familiarity and knew the seal was in trouble," Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said. "It was in rough shape ... it had a few cuts and was generally a bit battered around.

"We made sure it was safe, put it in a little Rubbermaid tub and took it to the experts."

The pup, nicknamed Fort St. James, will be rehabilitated for one or two months, McLaughlin said, and will hopefully recover and be released.

McLaughlin says this isn't the first time Coquitlam RCMP have rescued wildlife, but it's not an everyday situation.

Police say if someone comes across a baby seal, it shouldn't be assumed abandoned. The mother may simply be away foraging for food and it's best to keep people away from it so the mother can come back.

They say if someone has concerns about a pup, they should contact the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.