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Vancouver Aquarium reaches fundraising goal to keep rescue centre open

Last Updated Jun 10, 2020 at 2:26 pm PST

FILE - This baby sea otter was rescued in the water off nothern Vancouver Island on June 25th, 2017. (Photo Courtesy the Vancouver Aquarium)

The Marine Mammal Rescue Centre surpassed its fundraising goal of $125,000

The centre lost its main source of funding when the Vancouver Aquarium closed during the pandemic

Funds only cover base costs to reopen the centre and operate for now

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The Vancouver Aquarium is giving a flipper round of applause to its supporters after it raised enough money to keep its emergency rescue centre open.

“WE DID IT! WE DID IT! WE. DID. IT!!!!! No, actually, *YOU* did,” the aquarium writes in an Instagram post. “We managed to meet and exceed our emergency fundraising goal to open the rescue centre for this season. And that’s all thanks to you and your passionate support for this campaign.”

The Marine Mammal Rescue Centre surpassed its fundraising goal of $125,000 after the pandemic closed the Vancouver Aquarium, its main source of funding.

The post goes on to thank supports for their contributions during the pandemic, even adding Creamsicle, a harbour seal, is “beaming with pride.”


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With harbour seal pupping season on the way, the aquarium says it’s getting ready to open and admit some of its first patients “and not a minute too soon.”

“We are already receiving calls about seal pups in distress on beaches in BC. And we can’t wait to share updates about our first patients in the days to come,” the post says.

The centre rescues and rehabilitated 100 to 200 harbour seals pups each year. Most of them are only a few days old when they’re rescued after being separated from their mothers, usually because of interference from humans, boat traffic, or other animals.

But the centre isn’t in the clear just yet.

While the goal was met, it only covers base costs to open up the centre again and keep operating.

Further donations will go to caring for rescued marine animals, including veterinary care, medication, support services staff and emergency rescue needs.

Watch: The future of the Vancouver Aquarium

In April, the aquarium feared permanent closure in a matter of months if it wasn’t able to secure funding. At the time, it was losing $3.3 million a month while staying closed.

To help the aquarium, the Vancouver Whitecaps initiated a face masks campaign and raised more than $1 million a few days after launching the campaign.

The aquarium has been closed since March 17 and houses about 70,000 animals.

It is hoping on reopening soon to visitors, but with some adjustments to keep up with public health orders.