About Us

Our team includes a staff veterinarian (as well as several consulting veterinarians), registered veterinary technologists, animal care and rehabilitation specialists and many dedicated volunteers. All members of the team are highly trained to provide qualified and experienced veterinary care to our animal patients. Our volunteers are essential to our success.

 

Team Bios

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Staff Veterinarian
Dr. Martin Haulena, DVM, MSc, Dipl. ACZM

Dr. Martin Haulena graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1993 and completed a Master's degree in pathobiology from the University of Guelph in 1999. Dr. Haulena was the Staff Veterinarian at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA for nine years and is currently Staff Veterinarian at the Vancouver Aquarium. His special interests are in the medical management of aquatic animals—particularly marine mammals—with emphasis on innovative diagnostic methods such as MRIs, endoscopy and sonography, developing safe anesthetic protocols and improving surgical techniques.

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Rescue Centre Manager
Lindsaye Akhurst

Lindsaye Akhurst is the Manager of the Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre and has been working at the Rescue Centre since 2006. Lindsaye is a registered Veterinary Technologist, President of the Oiled Wildlife Society of B.C. and a member of the Wildlife Rehabilitators network of British Columbia. Lindsaye possesses finely tuned rehabilitation skills specifically when working with seals, sea lions, porpoises, sea turtles, and sea otters.

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Rescue Centre Assistant Manager
Emily Johnson

Emily Johnson is originally from Brantford, Ontario. She graduated from the Veterinary Technologist program at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown College in 1999.  She worked in many different areas of veterinary medicine before her first summer at the Rescue Centre in 2010. Falling in love with Vancouver and with the Rescue Centre, she moved across the country and has called BC home since 2011.

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Senior Veterinary Technician
Shanie Fradette

Shanie Fradette has been a Registered Veterinary Technologist since 2007 and joined the Marine Mammal Rescue Team in June 2008. She is originally from Quebec and speaks French and English fluently. She came to the Rescue Centre with experience working with dolphins and turtles from an internship at a Rehabilitation Hospital in Florida.

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Rehabilitation Specialist Adviser
Amelia MacRae, PhD

Amelia MacRae has completed a BA in English Literature from UVIC, a BSc in Global Resource Systems from UBC and in 2009, completed an MSc from UBC’s Animal Welfare Program. Her thesis examined the effect of diet and the provision of supplementary heat on pups’ growth and survival. Amelia's previous work has included Enrichment Coordinator at the Calgary Zoo where she worked with a wide variety of species including grizzly bears, black bears, cougars, wolves, moose and whooping cranes, and as a Marine Mammal Trainer at the Vancouver Aquarium. Amelia successfully completed her PhD in Animal Welfare at UBC in 2018.

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Senior Veterinary Technologist
Sion Cahoon

Sion graduated from Thompson Rivers University, and has been working as a RVT for the past 20 years. Her experiences have varied, working in small animal private practice, shelter medicine, education, and aquarium and wildlife medicine. Sion grew up on Vancouver island and has been with the aquarium for the past 8 years.

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Veterinarian
Dr. Hannah Drumm, DVM

Dr. Hannah Drumm graduated from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2018 with an emphasis in zoological medicine. She then completed a General Medicine and Surgery Internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City in 2019. During veterinary school, Dr. Drumm learned about pinniped rescue and rehabilitation both as a volunteer at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA as well as here at the Vancouver Aquarium as a veterinary extern. Originally from New Mexico, Dr. Drumm and her golden retriever are thrilled to explore the beautiful BC coast.

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Marine Mammal Research Assistant
Cassandra Girdlestone

Cassandra was born in Middleton, N.S. and grew up in Ontario where she completed her BSc Specialized Honours of Marine Biology at the University of Guelph. In 2012 she moved to BC in hopes of becoming involved at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre and to pursue her dreams of becoming a marine biologist.  After joining the team at VAMMRC in 2014 as a volunteer, she completed her practicum placement in 2015 before being hired on as staff in her role as a Rescue Assistant.  Cassandra completed her MSc in Zoology at UBC in 2018 and started her new position as Research Assistant at VAMMRC in June of 2019.

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Registered Veterinary Technologist
Kasey Meikle

Kasey is a Registered Veterinary Technologist and graduated from Thompson Rivers University in 2013. She started her career working in small animal and exotic medicine while traveling the east coast of Canada. She has worked with a variety of animals while volunteering in wildlife rehabilitation facilities. In 2017 she completed her first summer at MMR and fell in love with the marine mammal field. Kasey lives in North Vancouver and loves anything outdoors.  

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Registered Veterinary Technologist
Kendra Luckow

Kendra Luckow graduated from Douglas College in 2016 and has been working at VAMMRC as a Registered Veterinary Technologist since June 2018.  She grew up in Tsawwassen BC, spending as much time in and around the ocean as possible.   Kendra has volunteered at wildlife rehabilitation centres around the world and has experience working with many species including sea turtles, penguins, and elephants.  In her spare time Kendra works actively in shark conservation and loves to travel whenever possible.

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Other Team Members

Brittany Baldock RVT

Andrew Celmainis RVT

Amanda Gawor VTA

Megan Glover RVT

Caitlyn Knight RVT

Desiree Majure RVT

Saskia Palesch-Scholte MMR Assistant

Natalie Sacks RVT

Talia Smith Rehab and Admin Assistant

Breanna Stenstrom RVT

Nicole Shorrock MMR Volunteer Co-ordinator

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Volunteers
Too many to name!

Dedicated volunteers are essential to the success of the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. Volunteers clean facilities and animal care spaces; prepare food and assist in feeding animals; assist with the preparation and administration of medications and treatments; accompany staff on rescues and releases; and help to ensure that every animal gets the care that it needs. If you are interested in joining the volunteer team, view our volunteer