British Columbia

Rescued seal pup's condition deteriorates: Vancouver Aquarium

A seal pup rescued from the Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island is struggling to survive. Parks Canada says the hiker who rescued it could be fined.

Woman hiking Vancouver Island's West Coast Trail discovered distressed animal Saturday

Two-month-old seal pup, named 'Fermium' died Thursday morning at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Vancouver Aquarium)

A seal pup rescued from the Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island is struggling to survive, says Vancouver Aquarium's head staff veterinarian.

Dr. Martin Haulena said Wednesday afternoon that the two-month-old female pup "had a severe hypoglycemic crash, including seizures, this morning at 7:30 a.m."

Once an animal has had seizures, "their chances for recovery are markedly reduced," he said.

Nicknamed 'Fermium', the pup also has multiple cuts on her hind flippers and her right eye is tightly closed and may even be injured or missing, Haulena said.

Seal pup rescuer could face fine

The seal pup came to the aquarium's rescue centre after a woman hiking the West Coast Trail in Pacific Rim National Park found it in distress Saturday.

The woman, who has not been publicly identified, took the pup out of the park and then called the Vancouver Aquarium for help.

The problem is, it's against the law to remove wildlife from Canada's national parks, says Alison Manley, the external relations manager for the Coastal B.C. field unit.

Manley says although it may be difficult, it's best to leave injured animals where they are and contact Parks Canada staff at 1-866-944-1744.

Depending on the situation, animals may be left in place as they provide food for other animals in the wild, she said.

In some cases, seal pups may look like they need help, but their mothers could be nearby.

Parks Canada says it has been in contact with the hiker, but no decision has been made regarding a fine. Fines range from a verbal or written warning to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a serious poaching incident.

The Vancouver Aquarium says if you find a marine mammal in distress outside a national park, stay back, keep people and pets away, and call the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604-258-7325.

'Fermium' is the centre of a Parks Canada investigation. (Vancouver Aquarium)

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