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

  • 5 key moments from tonight's B.C. election debate

    Canada News CBC News
    The leaders traded jabs on three main categories — leadership, the economy and housing — during Wednesday's election debate. Here are five moments we found most interesting: Housing B.C. Election Debate 20172:42 Source
  • Trump assures PM: No NAFTA withdrawal for now

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — The White House is telling U.S. media that it’s weighing a plan to pull out of NAFTA, upping the pressure on Congress to get cracking on negotiations under the threat of having the seminal trade deal obliterated. Source
  • India blocks social media in Kashmir in wake of abuse videos

    World News CTV News
    SRINAGAR, India - India has ordered internet service providers in Indian-controlled Kashmir to block Facebook, Twitter and 20 other social media sites and online applications for one month, after several videos and photos depicting alleged abuses of Kashmiris by Indian security forces sparked outrage and fuelled protests. Source
  • Trump tells Canada, Mexico he won’t terminate NAFTA

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — The White House is telling U.S. media that it’s weighing a plan to pull out of NAFTA, upping the pressure on Congress to get cracking on negotiations under the threat of having the seminal trade deal obliterated. Source
  • Housing, economy, leadership feature in final B.C. election debate

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA -- British Columbia Premier Christy Clark is defending the time it took her government to cool Vancouver's scorching housing market, telling voters watching a TV debate the Liberals wanted to make sure they didn't wipe out the equity people have built in their homes by acting rashly. Source
  • Hollywood producer testifies in Robert Durst murder case

    World News CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A Hollywood producer testified Wednesday that a friend claimed to have impersonated the first wife of real estate heir Robert Durst in a telephone call that prosecutors say took place after the wife was dead. Source
  • Doctors in Detroit-area genital mutilation case indicted

    World News Toronto Sun
    DETROIT — A grand jury indicted two doctors and a third person on Wednesday in an alleged scheme to perform genital mutilation on two girls from Minnesota at a Detroit-area clinic. Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and Attar’s wife, Farida, are charged with female genital mutilation, conspiracy and other crimes. Source
  • Trekker missing in Nepal for 47 days saved, girlfriend dies 3 days before rescue

    World News CTV News
    KATHMANDU, Nepal -- A Taiwanese man who was missing on a mountain in Nepal for 47 days was rescued Wednesday, but his girlfriend died just three days before they were discovered, trekking officials said. Asian Trekking agency official Madhav Basnet said 21-year-old Liang Sheng Yueh was found Wednesday on a ledge under a waterfall and was flown by helicopter to a hospital in the capital, Kathmandu. Source
  • Canadian soldier killed in vehicle rollover remembered for 'big heart'

    Canada News CTV News
    A field memorial was held Wednesday morning for a Canadian solider killed when a light-armoured vehicle rolled over during a training exercise on an Alberta base. Sgt. Robert J. Dynerowicz died Tuesday after the accident at Canadian Forces Base Wainwright. Source
  • Conservative candidates battle it out after O'Leary quits

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — The Conservative leadership race now enters the final weeks with penultimate debate showcasing the task at hand for the majority of candidates: take down clear front-runner Maxime Bernier. Wednesday night’s final party debate in Toronto was supposed to be a big political spectacle in its own right, with the May 27 climax looming on the calendar. Source