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Orphaned otter pup receives around-the-clock care in Vancouver

Last Updated Jul 6, 2020 at 12:20 pm PDT

A sea otter pup named Joey is now receiving care at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre after its mother was found dead near Kyuquot, according to the Vancouver Aquarium. (Courtesy Vancouver Aquarium)

A sea otter pup just more than a week old is now receiving care at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre

The pup named Joey is being fed, bathed, and groomed by staff at the Rescue Centre in Vancouver

The pup was heard crying on July 2 near the Kyuquot on Vancouver Island

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – An otter pup apparently orphaned last week is in need of quite a bit of care.

The orphaned sea otter, believed to be just more than a week old, was found near Kyuquot, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, by someone who heard it crying on July 2. According to the Vancouver Aquarium, a dead sea otter, believed to be the pup’s mother, was found in the same area the next day.

Out of concern for the pup, whom staff have named Joey, the baby otter was brought to the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre in Vancouver.

“It was really an incredible effort to get him to the Rescue Centre safely. He wouldn’t have been able to survive much longer on his own so we’re really grateful that we were able to get him treatment quickly,” Lindsaye Akhurst, manager of the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, says.

Joey is now receiving around-the-clock care and is being fed, bathed, and groomed by staff.

“Sea otter pups are incredibly dependent on their mothers for the first six months of their lives,” Dr. Martin Haulena, head veterinarian at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, explains. “This pup would normally learn to groom, swim and feed from its mother, so he has quite a long journey ahead of him. He’s definitely hypoglycemic and hypothermic, but he’s starting to feed well so that’s a good sign.”

Joey’s name is a tribute to a long-time supporter of the centre. It’s unclear if staff will be able to release him back into the wild at this time.

There are currently six rescued sea otters living at the Vancouver Aquarium, including Hardy, who was “successfully rehabilitated” three years ago. Staff say Hardy, who was found alone in the waters off northern Vancouver Island in 2017, was “deemed non-releasable by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.”

His care comes at a troubling time for the Vancouver Aquarium, which has only just reopened after the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to shut down. The aquarium was facing permanent closures amid financial struggles.

The Marine Mammal Rescue Centre was able to reopen last month “thanks to an outpouring of support and donations from the community.” It was also facing possible permanent closure due to a lack of funds.