A sea otter pup rescued off the shores of Northern Vancouver Island has been named Hardy.
The pup was first brought to the District of Port Hardy for treatment, when a group of boaters spotted the lone sea otter following and calling out to their boat on June 25.
When the boaters arrived in Port Hardy they contacted the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, who then contacted the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre for help.
The Vancouver Aquarium even held a contest to name the sea otter pup. Sarah Stregger submitted the winning submission ‘Hardy’ in honour of the place where the pup was rescued.
The rescue centre has since been providing 24-hour care for the pup, who was too young to survive on his own. Hardy was estimated to be only two to four weeks old when he was found.
“He’s doing very well since he’s come here,” said Lindsaye Akhurst, manager of the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. “Since he came here one month ago, he’s doubled his weight and he’s learning how to dive underwater.”
Hardy still needs 24-hour care and staff and volunteers at the rescue centre will work around the clock until he can feed on his own, maintain his coat quality and show increased activity in the pool.
Akhurst says it’s uncertain why Hardy was separated from his mother. “It’s not uncommon for them to be separated for a short period of time, but it’s uncommon for them not to find each other again,” she said.
Hardy will remain in the care of the rescue centre until he is old enough for the Vancouver Aquarium and the DFO to better assess his situation, but Akhurst noted “sea otters of this age are not typically releasable” without a surrogate mother to provide care.
Each year the rescue centre cares for over 100 marine mammals and rehabilitates them for release, when possible. In addition to Hardy, they are currently caring for 54 harbour seals and two sea lions.