Everyone loves the harbour seals in Vancouver. But apparently, people have been loving them in all the wrong ways. According to The Vancouver Aquarium, people are doing ridiculous things like feeding the seals chicken and cow's milk! The aquarium is now warning the people of Vancouver to stop interfering with the harbour seals as it can have negative longterm effects on wildlife. 

Vancouver is known for having the cutest harbour seals ever! These playful sea creatures are always showing their adorable faces to tourists and people just passing by. 

The Vancouver Aquarium works hard to ensure the seals in the harbour are safe. They often rehabilitate lost, injured, or neglected seal pups whenever they can. 

While this is a great initiative offered by the aquarium, it is not okay for the general public to intervene with the seals in the first place. In fact, interfering with the lives of harbour seals has become such a problem, that the aquarium is urging people to stop!

According to an email sent by The Vancouver Aquarium to Narcity, the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre has seen an increasing number of human interference cases this season which has resulted in newborn seal pups being disturbed. 

In order to demonstrate to the public what not to do, the aquarium has released a list of incidents that they have seen the past. All the instances are real and are very much ridiculous. 

According to The Vancouver Aquarium, some people have physically put the seals back into the water or fed them unnatural things such as smoked oysters, chicken drumsticks, and cow's milk! 

Along with this, the aquarium reports that people in the Vancouver area are actually touching the animals. People have reportedly been petting the seals on the head, hanging them upside down by their flippers for pictures, and gathering around them in large crowds. 

The aquarium has stated that one well-meaning onlooker called a local wildlife centre to report an “orphaned” pup. While this was a great first step, they then proceeded to take the seal and drive it to a local vet clinic where they were dropped off!

Another woman actually took a pup out of its habitat and placed it in her bathtub before calling to report it.

But this isn’t even the most ridiculous! One man saw two newborn seal pups and instead of calling for help, he took them and zipped them up in a couch cushion case. He then put them in the backseat of his car, alongside his dog, as he drove them to the rescue centre. 

While some of the pups in the above cases were in poor shape and needed rescuing, some did not. According to Emily Johnson, assistant manager at the Marine Centre, once a pup has been removed from its natural environment, it is difficult to reunite them with their mother. The aquarium then has no choice but to rehabilitate them.

“It’s not unusual to see a seal pup on its own at this time of year. Unlike some other marine mammals, harbour seal mothers can’t sustain lactation unless they go out and forage,” said Johnson. “The mother might be absent for several hours, so it’s imperative that humans and pets leave them alone. It’s a perfectly natural situation and it does not mean the pups have been deserted or orphaned.”

If you ever come across a seal pup who you think needs some help, the best thing to do is remain calm, observe from a distance, and call the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at (604) -258-7325.

Johnson stated that 11 harbour seals were admitted into the rescue centre since the end of June 2019! All 11 seals were impacted by human interference before being reported to either the centre itself or the marine mammal hotline. 

Since the beginning of the year, the centre has seen 93 seals admitted into care. A majority of the seals entering the centre have had some type of negative and inappropriate human interference. 

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