After three weeks of rehabilitation and physical therapy, Jack, an abandoned baby harbour porpoise, is riding the wave to recovery, gaining eight pounds since his arrival at the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.
He joins 80 harbour seals currently at the MMRC and is the third rescued porpoise this year. His rehabilitators hope for a successful recovery like that of sea lion ‘Flash Gordon,’ released on Vancouver Island Wednesday.
“He has a long way to go,” said Lindsaye Akahurst, manager at the MMRC. “It’s a huge sign when an animal is in an environment that is not natural to them but he has gained so much weight.”
Jack was abandoned by his mother for unknown reasons and spotted in distress off the coast of Horseshoe Bay mid-September. When rescue workers brought him back to the centre he was extremely underweight and disorientated.
“Porpoises are different from seals because they need a lot of interaction for their development,” said rehabilitation specialist Amelia MacRae, who has been working around the clock with Jack to build his strength.
With his future health uncertain, rehabilitators said they are assessing Jack’s recovery day-by-day. They are holding back plans to move him into the aquarium or for a release into the wild and are solely focusing on his current health.
“Our goal is always to release,” said Akahurst, “It is early in his rehab but he is very affectionate with us and we’re so happy with his progress.”