It was boaters who first spotted the very teeny sea otter pup.
It was swimming alone in open water off northern Vancouver Island on Sunday. That’s when it approached and then followed their boat while vocalizing. There were no adult sea otters anywhere around.
They scooped it up.
“Sea otters have high energetic needs; after birth they spend about six months with mom, nursing, being groomed by her and learning to forage and be a sea otter, so this little guy is still a fully dependent pup. Lindsaye Akhurst, manager of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, said in a statement. “He would not survive on his own, and we’re providing him with the care he needs right now.”
He’s getting around the clock care.
A tiny male, pegged to be between 2- and 4-weeks old by folks at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, said the pup is healthy, but staff and volunteers are spending shifts feeding, bathing and grooming the newborn pup.
He hasn’t been named.
And officials are using this as a teachable moment.
Although well intentioned, the rescuers should have reported the distressed animal first rather than taken from the ocean.
“Once they’re removed from the wild it’s impossible to determine if the mother is alive and if they could have been reunited, or if bringing him in was the appropriate action,” Akhurst added.
Paul Cottrell, with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, also reminded people that touching or capturing wild marine mammals is illegal.
Decisions about the pup’s future will be made by the government.
Photos Vancouver Aquarium