Local residents did the right thing contacting the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre when they found this injured harbour seal on Columbia Beach March 31.

Distressed seal found on Columbia Beach near Parksville – residents did all they could

Lesson were learned, response was swift, but seal ultimately died

A local resident says she learned important lessons when she and her husband found an injured harbour seal on Columbia Beach last month.

“We live on the water and we saw it on the beach right in front of our house,” said French Creek resident Janet Sawatsky, explaining “it was an adult seal in obvious distress.”

They called around and it took a bit to reach the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, which co-ordinated with a local biologist and asked them to keep an eye on it.

“Luckily the beach is closed to dogs right now due to the Brant migration or there would have been a few ugly seal/dog interactions,” she said. “They are very strong and will protect themselves if approached by dogs or humans especially if they are sick, injured and vulnerable.”

“They sent a biologist out — I was very surprised by all of this effort,” she said.

The seal just lay there and let them approach very close, she said. It moved around some with the tide, but didn’t leave and after a 48-hour observation period, the experts decided to come from Vancouver on April 2 to take it back to their facility.

“My husband helped and they managed to get this huge thing, 300 pounds or more, off the beach.”

The seal “was documented as an older seal based on the condition of his teeth,” said Charlene Chiang, director of communications with the centre.

“While the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre’s team did everything they could to rehabilitate it, in the end, he did not pull through.”

Chiang said residents did the right thing, pointing out the centre’s goal “is to rescue, rehabilitate and release stranded, injured or ill marine mammals.”

The centre usually focuses on pups or immature animals and requires Department of Fisheries and Oceans involvement for adult seals, which they did in this case.

Contact the rescue centre at 1-604-258-SEAL (7325), e-mail rescue@vanaqua.org or visit www.vanaqua.org, under the “Act” tab for more information.

Sawatsky pointed out the centre accepts donations.

Just Posted

Development permit issued for four-storey apartment on Dogwood Street

Proposed 63-unit building will include water conservation measures

Mark Chandler running for City of Parksville councillor

Chandler will focus on affordable housing, fiscal responsibility, economic growth and crime

New data gives insight into Parksville Qualicum Beach-area homeless community

42 without homes agree to take survey on gender, age, health, length of time in community

Parksville singer to celebrate birthday with concert

Robbie Van looking to raise money for Haven Society

Mt. Washington season passholders to be the first to receive the new tech in-hand

The new hands-free tech will be in full effect for winter 2018-19

VIDEO: Tour de Rock rider says event provides badly needed support

Cancer survivor and volunteer firefighter Nicole Emery speaks about importance of fundraising tour

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Island man calls 911 after being robbed of his drugs

Nineteen-year-old and 15-year-old suspects face multiple charges following robbery Monday in Nanaimo

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

Most Read