VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - An adorable sea otter pup found swimming alone is receiving around-the-clock care from the Vancouver Aquarium.
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre said they believe the male sea otter is between two and four weeks old.
The pup was found by boaters swimming alone in open water off northern Vancouver Island on Sunday, according to the aquarium.
Although he appeared to be healthy, the aquarium said the pup requires care night and day, just like he would receive from his mother.
Staff and volunteers at the aquarium have been taking turns feeding, bathing and grooming the newborn.
“Sea otters have high energetic needs. After birth they spend about six months with mom, nursing, being groomed by her and learning to forage and be a sea otter, so this little guy is still a fully dependent pup. He would not survive on his own, and we’re providing him with the care he needs right now,” Lindsaye Akhurst, manager of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre said in a written statement.
While officers with Fisheries and Oceans Canada said the boaters had well intentions, they reminded people that distressed animals should be reported first rather than being taken from the ocean.
Touching or capturing a wild marine mammals is illegal in Canada, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
“Once they’re removed from the wild it’s impossible to determine if the mother is alive and if they could have been reunited, or if bringing him in was the appropriate action,” Akhurst explained.
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre is a hospital for sick, injured or orphaned marine mammals. To learn how you can help support the Vancouver Aquarium’s mission, click here.