Dec 20 2010

Our adopted seal pups head home

Published by at 5:13 pm under Tidings from Gabriola Island

On October 18, 2010, our two adopted seal pups, Casper (black) and Pumba (white) made their dash to freedom in the Salish Sea off Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. Thanks to three months of expert ministrations by the staff at Island Wildlife Natural Care Centre on Salt Spring, and their innovative Adopt-a-Seal-Pup Program, these lucky, orphaned seal pups got a new lease on life.

Rescued seal pups released by Island Wildlife staff

Casper waits for Pumba to join him

Two rescued seal pups released

Casper & Pumba swim off to freedom together

Last July, Casper and Pumba were found abandoned, weak and dying near Courtney and Galiano Island. They were taken to Island Wildlife on Salt Spring Island for emergency treatment. They were both extremely underweight orphaned newborns, each weighing just 16 lbs. (instead of a normal 22 lbs.). Starving, they were also deeply in the throes of systemic infections due to their compromised immune systems. They spent their first six weeks in the Centre’s seal pup isolation ward, where the veterinarian and other rehabilitation staff provided around-the-clock care. They were examined daily and tube fed five times a day. Their rigorous course of antibiotics and alternative medicine included homeopathy and Chinese herbal remedies.

Pumba, the healthier of the two, graduated first to one of the seal pools where he swam freely with a group of similarly aged pups. Casper suffered some setbacks and had to remain in isolation longer. Both pups learned to eat fish by themselves, consuming about 60 fish per day.

Once they reached between 50 and 60 pounds, the weight at which their seal mothers would have weaned them in the wild, they were ready for release. In fact, they both slightly overstayed their welcome and were 10 lbs. overweight by release day. We are delighted that they are healthy and back home in their natural habitat.

You too can adopt an orphaned seal pup!

For $500, you can adopt and save the life of an orphaned seal pup. You’ll get a full-colour personalized adoption certificate, a chance to choose the pup you’d like to adopt in the summer of 2011, and the opportunity to personally release your pup in the fall.

Why I love and support the Island Wildlife Natural Care Centre

This wildlife hospital now treats more than 5,000 sick, injured and orphaned wild terrestrial and marine animals every year. They make no judgment as to an animal’s worthiness for care. Their philosophy is simple and compelling: to prevent the needless suffering of individual wild animals, whether a bird, duck, seal, snake or other creature. Since BC Gaming cut  funding to environmental charities two years ago, the Centre has had to scramble to meet its $200,000 annual budget entirely with private funds. By this time of year, their funds are depleted and they urgently need the support of private donors to carry on!

Island Wildlife is doing extraordinary work. See for yourself. Take a look at their website. Read their newsletters. Watch their videos. Like we were, you can’t helped but be touched. Make a donation and help Island Wildlife carry on saving the lives of injured, sick and suffering wild animals. You will see tangible results from your support! Perhaps you, too, will be able to assist personally in the return of a rehabilitated animal to the wild.

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