Blind seal pup rescued from Vancouver Island beach
'Mr. Magoo' found starving, abandoned, now recovering at Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre
"Mr. Magoo" is adapting to his new surroundings at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.
The blind, male seal pup was found, starving and abandoned, on a Vancouver Island beach near Courtenay last month.
Rescue centre staff nicknamed it "Mr. Magoo" after the nearsighted cartoon character.
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The people who found the pup on the beach could tell it was sightless because its fully dilated pupils were green and glowing, like the eyes of a cat in the dark.
"At this point we're not too sure how long he was blind for," Akhurst said.
"He could have been born blind, but he is a few months old, so we're wondering if something happened in the last few months."
Akhurst said possible causes, including protozoa infection or environmental causes, are being investigated.
Nearly all the animals rescued and rehabilitated at the centre are released back into the wild.
If "Mr. Magoo" survives and it is determined the animal would perish if released, it will eventually be placed in an accredited zoo or aquarium.
Akhurst said staff at the centre usually keep minimal contact with animals destined for release, but they get to work more closely with animals that can't return to the wild.
"So we get to know their personalities a bit more, which is kind of fun for us too," she said.