British Columbia·Video

Orphaned sea otter pup in 'around-the-clock care' at Marine Mammal Rescue Centre

Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Rescue Centre is hoping for more donations to help care for a10-day-old sea otter pup found orphaned and crying in the waters off the northwest tip of Vancouver Island last week.

The pup named 'Joey' is responding well to care, say rescue centre staff

Staff at the rescue centre are providing around the clock care to 'Joey,' a 10-day-old orphaned sea otter pup discovered by a member of the public July 2, 2020. (Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)

A marine mammal rescue centre in Vancouver is hoping for more donations to help care for a 10-day-old sea otter pup found orphaned and crying in the waters off the northwest tip of Vancouver Island last week.

The young male pup was discovered near Kyuquot, B.C., a coastal village north of Tofino on Vancouver Island, on July 2, when a concerned passerby heard the animal vocalizing, according to a statement from the centre Monday.

The following morning, a dead adult female otter, believed to be the pup's mother, was discovered in the same area, the statement said.

"Sea otter pups are incredibly dependent on their mothers for the first six months of their lives," said Dr. Martin Haulena, head veterinarian at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

Watch | Orphaned baby sea otter squeals as he's hand fed:

A 10-day-old baby sea otter was rescued near Kyuquot, Vancouver Island and flown to Vancouver where he is receiving round-the-clock care. 1:07

The pup, which rescue centre staff have named Joey, would normally learn to feed, swim and groom himself from his mother, so he has a long journey ahead, said Haulena.

"He's definitely hypoglycemic and hypothermic, but he's starting to feed well so that's a good sign."

Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Rescue Centre is rehabilitating 'Joey,' a 10-day-old sea otter pup found off the northwest tip of Vancouver Island, July 2, 2020. (Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)

'Incredible effort'

The pup was flown by seaplane from the Kyuquot Village to the YVR south terminal, after which he was brought into the mammal centre care, the statement said.

Staff are now rotating shifts to feed, bathe and groom the newborn pup.

"It was really an incredible effort to get him to the Rescue Centre safely," said Lindsaye Akhurst, manager of the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

"He wouldn't have been able to survive much longer on his own," said Akhurst.

In 2017, the Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Rescue Centre team rehabilitated another rescued sea otter pup after he was discovered by boaters alone in the water. "Hardy" was deemed non-releasable by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and now lives with five other rescued sea otters at the Vancouver Aquarium.

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