For Vancouver aquarium volunteer Debbie Favero, this weekend’s release of 14 harbour seals back into the wild could only be described as bittersweet.

“We are trained not to get emotionally attached to the seals, but once they have been released and look back at you with their big eyes, it is almost as if they are asking you why you aren’t coming with them,” she said.

Aquarium veterinarian Martin Haulena said seal pups and their mothers separate after four weeks and those that were rescued suffered from infection, dehydration or other forms of illness.

Of the seals that have been brought in to the aquarium so far this year, more than 70 per cent have survived, Haulena said.

He added that most of the aquarium’s rescue calls come from members of the public — although not all needed rescuing.

“What happens a lot, particularly with harbour seal pups, is they’re not actually in trouble and they’re just sort of waiting around for mom.”

Latest From ...