A premature seal pup found alone in the waters off Prince Rupert is in the care of veterinarians with the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.
The rescue centre said in a news release Tuesday that a bystander first spotted the tiny male pup, now named Dwayne ‘The Rockfish’ Johnson, struggling to swim near a dock on May 1. That person rescued him from the water.
It took many helping hands to transport Dwayne to the centre headquarters in Vancouver, including airline staff with Inland Air Charters who had to drive the pup from one charter plane to another runway.
Despite his epic journey, the centre said that Dwayne is doing well, receiving regular fluids and nutrition, and showing quick signs of improvement.
Centre manager Lindsaye Akhurst described the harbour seal as a “feisty little pup” despite being found with remnants of his umbilical cord still attached. Other indicators he was born premature include his soft fur only found on extremely young pups, known as lanugo.
The centre warns that now is the start of pupping season in B.C., which means that newborn pups are often left alone to rest while their mothers forage for food.
“The mother will usually come back,” Akhurst said.
“We ask those who find a seal pup not to touch it and to keep their pets away. Call us, we’ll assess the animal, then decide if a rescue is needed.”
Dwayne is the second harbour seal to be brought into the centre this year, the first being Jessica Seal, found off Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver suffering from 23 shotgun pellets in her face.