Cool things that happen only at the Vancouver Aquarium

Photo by Mikaylie Wilson

This week, "something really cool happened" at the Vancouver Aquarium, Nicole Cann, the aquarium's manager of interpretive delivery, said.

Canada's largest aquarium broke the record for the highest amount of harbour seals its Marine Mammal Rescue Centre has ever rescued in one season. "We rescued over 150 of them," she said. And the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre has been one of Canada's leading rescue centres for over 40 years. Harbour seals, their most "common patient."

 Just in time for the aquarium's fall promotion, "Rescue Stories."

"It's an amazing feeling to see these animals that you worked so hard to care for–and sometimes they come in and you really don't think they're going to survive–be able to go on their own and survive in the ocean," Cann said. Most of the animals that survive are released back into the ocean.

@VancouverAqua Tip: Feature Programs

Cann said that most people who come to the aquarium don't realize that there's a number of programs that happen only once a day. They're called Feature Programs.

"When you come to the aquarium and you look at our show board, it only shows you whats happening in the next two hours, and you might make your plan on what's going to happen in the next two hours, and you wouldn't know that in two-and-a-half hours, we're going to be releasing butterflies into the Amazon gallery," she said.

Ask your admission staff what the feature programs are of the day, and you'll find, "a lot of sort of secret programs that are happening at the aquarium."

Daisy still the most amazing

It's been three years since Daisy's rescue, but for Cann, who was there the day the harbour porpoise was brought to the aquarium's rescue centre, it's as if it happened yesterday.   

"We stood in the water with her for three solid days and nights, holding her tiny little body, and you could actually feel her shudder every time that she tried to take a breath, and she was trying so hard, and there's nothing that I can ever experience again like standing in the water at three o'clock in the morning, holding the life of a porpoise in my hands," Cann remembers. "It was one of the most incredible experiences."

Daisy was about a month old. She was washed up on the beach near Victoria. Scratched and cut. "She looked like a little lump, not even like an animal," Cann said. "I remember this little blob, this little awful-looking sick thing."

The aquarium's highlighting Daisy right now, her story making the aquarium just a little bit more popular. "She's an incredible ambassador for the hard work and dedication that goes into caring for every single rescue animal that we come across because whether it's a seal or a porpoise or a sea lion, every animal counts," Cann said. "There's nothing that I can ever experience again like standing in the water at three o'clock in the morning, holding the life of a porpoise in my hands."

Now three years old, the thriving Daisy inhabits the Aquarium's B.C. Sugar pool. At the underwater viewing area, spectators stand awed and inspired.

Check out what's on at the Vancouver Aquarium, October 8 - 15, in the press release below:

1. Rescue Stories

From September 23 to November 6, meet Vancouver Aquarium’s family of rescued animals and learn about their extraordinary fight to beat the odds. The Aquarium has its own hospital for sick, injured or orphaned marine mammals and every year we rescue, rehabilitate and release over 150 abandoned and stranded harbour seals. Learn about the dedication, perseverance and unwavering devotion of the hundreds of staff and volunteers who care for them. 

2. Flash Gordon Returns To His Natural Habitat

After five weeks of veterinary treatment and animal care at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, Flash Gordon, the California sea lion that was rescued off Vancouver Island on August 23, 2011, returned home on October 5. After a series of diagnostic testing, a hook was located in the distal aspect of the esophagus at the level of the heart and was successfully removed. The Marine Mammal Rescue Centre relies on an amazing network of devoted volunteers to care for the animals. Did you know that you can help in rescuing and rehabilitating stranded marine mammals? Join the team.

3. Explore The Arctic

This popular gallery shows how Canada’s Arctic is vast, diverse and in the grip of change due to the climate crisis. In the beautiful but harsh habitat of Canada’s Arctic come face-to-face with curious beluga whales, Arctic cod, char and sea urchins. Interactive technology educates on different aspects of Arctic life. Hear the sound of a baby beluga calling for its mother or explore the different shipping routes travelers must take to navigate through this icy territory in the winter months. The land, animals and people of this fascinating region all have unique stories to tell.

4. Hanging Around In The Dark

Photo by John Healey, Vancouver Aquarium

Are you afraid of the dark? Jamaican fruit bats certainly aren’t. Visit the Jamaican fruit bats in the Graham Amazon Gallery and peek into their shadowy habitat. Learn how these small flying mammals use echolocation to see their way around and find their food. After all, they may be small but they sure like to eat. Find out why these particular bats are known for having such a big appetite. Take the time to try and spot all the different types of food the bats are feeding on. Who knows, they just might be having the same lunch that you are.

5. Celebrate A Birthday At The Aquarium

Did you know the Aquarium hosts a fun-filled day solely dedicated to birthdays? Catered for children, guests can celebrate with the splashiest party around in a two-hour educational exploration of the aquatic world. Party guests get to view special props, interact with animals in our Wet Lab, and go behind the scenes to see our jelly lab with an aquarist. In addition, the birthday boy or girl becomes an honorary Aquarist, and even gets to feed fish in the Strait of Georgia Pacific Canada Pavilion.

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