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

  • Explorers find WWII Navy destroyer, deepest wreck discovered

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines - A U.S. Navy destroyer that engaged a superior Japanese fleet in the largest sea battle of World War II in the Philippines has become the deepest wreck to be discovered, according to explorers. Source
  • Biden urges Western unity on Ukraine amid war fatigue

    World News CTV News
    ELMAU, Germany - U.S. President Joe Biden and western allies opened a three-day summit in the Bavarian Alps on Sunday intent on keeping economic fallout from the war in Ukraine from fracturing the global coalition working to punish Russia's aggression. Source
  • Norway mourns victims of Oslo shooting with memorial service

    World News CTV News
    Microsoft: Russian cyber spying targets 42 Ukraine allies Coinciding with unrelenting cyberattacks against Ukraine, state-backed Russian hackers have engaged in "strategic espionage" against governments, think tanks, businesses and aid groups in 42 countries supporting Kyiv, Microsoft said in a report Wednesday. Source
  • U.S. Pride parades march on with new urgency

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK - Parades celebrating LGBTQ Pride kick off in some of America's biggest cities Sunday amid new fears about the potential erosion of freedoms won through decades of activism. The annual marches in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and elsewhere take place just two days after one conservative justice on the Supreme Court signaled, in a ruling on abortion, that the court should reconsider the right to same-sex marriage recognized in 2015. Source
  • Russia strikes Kyiv as troops consolidate gains in the east

    World News CTV News
    KYIV, Ukraine - Russia attacked the Ukrainian capital early Sunday, striking at least two residential buildings, the mayor of Kyiv said, as elsewhere Russian troops fought to consolidate their gains in the country's east. Associated Press journalists in Kyiv saw rescue services battling flames and rescuing civilians. Source
  • At least 20 dead in South African club; cause not yet known

    World News CTV News
    JOHANNESBURG - South African police are investigating the deaths of at least 20 people at a nightclub in the coastal town of East London early Sunday morning. It is unclear what led to the deaths of the young people, who were reportedly attending a party to celebrate the end of winter school exams. Source
  • Public safety minister eyes steps to strengthen oversight of the RCMP

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA - The federal public safety minister says he is "deeply committed" to enhancing oversight of the RCMP by strengthening the role of the national police force's management advisory board. In an interview, Marco Mendicino expressed a desire to give the board the "independence and autonomy that it needs" -- possibly through legislative amendments -- to ensure adequate supervision. Source
  • As Senate-confirmed justices end Roe, how will voters react?

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - The end of Roe v. Wade started in the Senate. It was the Senate Republican partnership with President Donald Trump to confirm conservative judges, and transform the federal judiciary, that paved the way for the Supreme Court's landmark ruling to overturn the constitutional right to abortion. Source
  • At least 20 people found dead inside South African nightclub

    World News CBC News
    South African police are investigating the deaths of at least 20 people at a nightclub in the coastal town of East London early Sunday morning. It is unclear what led to the deaths of the young people, who were reportedly attending a party to celebrate the end of winter school exams. Source
  • Quebec homeowners say Ottawa must address decades of erosion caused by ship traffic

    Canada News CTV News
    Every year, 100-year-old Angélique Beauchemin watches more of her land crumble into the St. Lawrence River. From her home along a busy stretch of river in Verchères, Que., on Montreal's South Shore, she watches waves from passing ships crash into the rock wall at the base of her property, sweeping chunks away and eating into the unprotected banks from below. Source