Understanding the situation
Rescue situations, and their recommended courses of action, vary dramatically depending on the species concerned. Other critical factors are also involved, such as age, behaviour, location and apparent health. Please don't try to help an animal on your own. Call the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604-258-SEAL (7325).
While observing from a distance, try to collect the following information:
Does the animal have any visible wounds or swellings?
Is the animal breathing? Is it breathing through its nose or its mouth? Does the breathing sound congested or laboured?
Try to determine what species it may be by its size and colour.
Does it have a plump, rounded appearance, or does it appear thin?
Is the animal responsive? Is its behaviour active, aggressive, lethargic, vocal? Please take photos.
Don't try to coax, pull or push an animal back into the water. Marine mammals are wild animals, and approaching too closely can cause them undue stress. If they feel threatened, they may bite.
Keep Pets Away
It's important to keep pets away. Dogs may inflict wounds on marine mammals, and there's a risk of disease transmission between the species.
By taking photos and sending them to us, trained rescuers will assess the situation and determine whether intervention is necessary.
Call the Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604-258-SEAL (7325) with the details, and we will instruct you on how best to proceed. If you're outside British Columbia, call your local animal rescue organization.