British Columbia

Rescued B.C. porpoise slowly improves

The health of an injured harbour porpoise is slowly improving since he was rescued off a beach near Victoria, a Vancouver Aquarium official says, but his survival is not assured.

The health of an injured harbour porpoise is slowly improving since he was rescued off a beach near Victoria Tuesday, a Vancouver Aquarium official says.

The porpoise is eating small amounts of fish, his appetite is increasing and he is moving his body slightly again, but it’s still unclear why he beached himself, said Lindsay Akhurst, manager of the aquarium’s marine mammal rescue centre.

"It's really hard for us to do some of the testing on him because he's not fully stable at this point," Akhurst said. "We'll be, in the next few days, getting more answers about that."

Now nicknamed Theodore, the adult porpoise was found in grave condition in Esquimalt, B.C., by members of the Songhees First Nation. The animal was bleeding near his tail and unable to swim on his own.

He has several large cuts and scratches, but vets say they are superficial and it’s assumed they occurred as he was washed back and forth on the beach by the surf.

Estimated to be about four years old, Theodore was moved Early Wednesday to the aquarium, where he’s recuperating in a floating sling, which helps support him as he slowly moves around a small tank at the rescue centre.

The porpoise is under 24-hour care and being fed every few hours. Staff are cautiously optimistic about a full recovery.

Last year, three porpoises were rescued and taken to the centre, but only one survived.


With files from the CBC's Miyoung Lee and Meera Bains