BOWEN ISLAND (NEWS 1130) – A Giant Pacific octopus is now making its way through the waters off Bowen Island after being released by a team from the Vancouver Aquarium.
As part of an Ocean Wise initiative, the release is the first for the not-for-profit organization, which is working closely with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
According to biologists at the Aquarium, the female octopus had become reproductively active.
“We first observed the octopus spending more and more time outside her den which is a behaviour associated with looking for a mate,” says Ruby Banwait, who is a senior aquarium biologist at the Vancouver Aquarium. “We knew she was fully grown and seeing eggs in her mantle confirmed that it was her time to reproduce.”
Banwait says it was once staff noticed the eggs that they asked the DFO for permission to transfer the animal back into the ocean to give it the best chance at surviving. “That included diving with her to the ocean floor, limiting her exposure to open water where octopuses are most vulnerable to predation, and finding a suitable habitat for her.”
Giant Pacific octopuses are considered to be one of the longest-living and largest of the species, and are found in the Pacific Ocean from as far as California to Alaska and west to the Aleutian Islands and Japan.
These octopuses live in depths of more than a 100 metres, and will leave their dens to hunt during the night.
“We couldn’t be happier with the outcome from this mission,” adds Banwait. “While at the Aquarium, this octopus fascinated countless visitors who caught an up-close glimpse of this incredible animal. Now, with this next step, she is back in the ocean where she can find a mate, lay eggs, and contribute to our local Giant Pacific octopus population.”
VanAqua welcomes new resident octopus
One cephalopod has been freed, and now the Vancouver Aquarium is giving you an up-close look at its newest addition.
Staff at the facility handed the new resident octopus a GoPro, which she’s said to have used to film the video below.