Threatened seal, endangered sea turtle rescued off Vancouver Island

VANCOUVER -- The head veterinarian at Vancouver's aquarium says the warm currents of El Nino may be behind the recent strandings of two animals rarely seen in Canadian waters.

See Full Article

A green sea turtle was rescued from a beach on Vancouver Island's Pacific Rim National Park on Saturday and a male Guadalupe fur seal was rescued from the same park last Thursday.

These kind of strandings often increase in El Nino years when water is warmer off British Columbia, said Dr. Martin Haulena.

"Changing water temperatures, changing currents, that's kind of the prime suspect," he said.

It's unusual to spot a green sea turtle in Canadian waters, and Haulena said he believes this is the first time a fur seal has ever been stranded in B.C.

The rescued animals were taken to the Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, where the seal is being treated for starvation and dehydration, while the turtle was hypothermic and has wounds to its shell.

"Both animals share the same clinical signs in that they are very weak, very slow, very lethargic and can't swim very well on their own," said the veterinarian.

Guadalupe fur seals generally live off of the coast of California and on Mexico's Guadalupe Island, and are listed as a threatened species in the U.S.

Warm waters likely forced the seal to seek colder and colder waters to hunt, Haulena said.

"I'm quite worried about the seal," he said, adding that fur seals often don't survive when they become stranded.

The young male has been given fluids and antibiotics, but is not eating on his own and the veterinary team isn't sure if he has any other injuries or illnesses in addition to starvation.

The prognosis is better for the turtle, Haulena said.

Green sea turtles are listed as endangered world wide and are usually in the waters of Mexico and Hawaii.

The animals are dependent on external conditions for their body temperature.

"Whatever the temperature around them is, that's what their temperature is," Haulena explained. "So as they get caught in these currents that are travelling into colder and colder water, they themselves get colder and colder."

The turtle had a body temperature of 11.2 degrees Celsius when it was brought in, far below the normal body temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius.

The care team is slowly warming the turtle by one to two degrees Celsius per day by simply turning up the thermostat, and the animal has begun to respond to treatment, Haulena said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 'I wish we had known': Peter MacKay defends record over transfer of child killers to healing lodges

    Canada News CBC News
    Two former top Tory cabinet ministers said Wednesday they simply didn't know so many child killers had been transferred to Indigenous healing lodges to serve out their sentences — even though some of those transfers happened on their watch while in government. Source
  • Montreal man alleges racial profiling at Hudson's Bay

    Canada News CTV News
    A black man says two security guards held him for nearly two hours at a Hudson’s Bay store in Montreal on suspicion that he was using a fake ID, and he’s accusing the store of racial profiling. Source
  • Aide who drew Melania Trump's ire is out of her job

    World News CBC News
    White House deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel was forced out of her job on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump's wife, Melania, said Ricardel did not deserve the honour of working for her husband. Ricardel "will continue to support the president as she departs the White House to transition to a new role within the administration," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. Source
  • Michael Avenatti, Trump critic and lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, arrested

    World News CBC News
    Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels who skyrocketed to fame as a chief critic of U.S. President Donald Trump, was taken into police custody in Los Angeles on Wednesday following an allegation of domestic violence, officials said. Source
  • Trump aide departs West Wing after rebuke from first lady

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel is leaving the White House, one day after first lady Melania Trump's office issued an extraordinary statement calling for her dismissal. No replacement was named. Aides said Ricardel clashed with the first lady's staff over her visit to Africa last month. Source
  • Michael Avenatti in Los Angeles police custody: Official

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A law enforcement official says Michael Avenatti is in police custody in Los Angeles following an allegation of domestic violence. The official says Avenatti was taken into custody Wednesday. Police had responded to a domestic violence incident a day earlier and took a report. Source
  • Stormy Daniels' laywer Michael Avenatti arrested on domestic violence charge

    World News CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Michael Avenatti, who skyrocketed to fame as a chief critic of U.S. President Donald Trump and the lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of domestic violence, Los Angeles police said. Source
  • Liberals appoint a new veterans 'ombudsperson'

    Canada News CBC News
    Canada has a new veterans ombudsman — or rather (to use the Liberal government's preferred title), a new veterans 'ombudsperson'. The appointment of Craig Dalton was announced late Wednesday by Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan, who thanked the outgoing ombudsman, Guy Parent, after his five-year term ended on Sunday. Source
  • Iqaluit grocery store to reopen this weekend following fire

    Canada News CTV News
    Iqaluit’s largest store is set to reopen less than 10 days after a fire destroyed their main warehouse. Sections of the Northmart in Iqaluit, one of just two grocery stores in the community, went up in flames on Nov. Source
  • 'Once in a lifetime' chance at Marie Antoinette's jewels has buyers laying down millions

    World News CBC News
    A large, drop-shaped natural pearl pendant sold for a hammer price of $42 million at an auction of jewelry that once belonged to French Queen Marie Antoinette, which Sotheby's is calling a record price for a pearl at auction. Source