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B.C.sa国际传媒檚 orphaned sea otter Tofino recovering, unlikely to return to wild

Pup rescued near her namesake town is under 24-hour care at the Vancouver Aquarium
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The sea otter pup rescued in critical condition just weeks ago in British Columbia, shown in a handout photo, is thriving under 24-hour care at Vancouver Aquariumsa国际传媒檚 Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, but the head veterinarian says itsa国际传媒檚 unlikely she will ever be able to return to the wild.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Society **MANDATORY CREDIT**

An orphaned sea otter pup rescued in critical condition in British Columbia last month is thriving under 24-hour care, but a veterinarian at the rescue facility says itsa国际传媒檚 unlikely she will ever be able to return to the wild.

The female pup, named Tofino after a vote conducted on social media, is being looked after at the Vancouver Aquariumsa国际传媒檚 Marine Mammal Rescue Society, where she has grown from about two kilograms to more than three kilograms.

Society executive director and head veterinarian Martin Haulena says Tofino is hitting many milestones in her recovery and growth, is eating well, and may transition from formula to solid food in a few weeks.

Haulena says Tofino has shown interest in diving when placed in the water and has improved her swimming, manual dexterity and self-grooming.

The pup was rescued alone near her namesake town on the west coast of Vancouver Island in mid-June.

Haulena says while the pupsa国际传媒檚 ultimate fate depends on Fisheries and Oceans Canada, orphaned otters are poor candidates for re-release because pups are typically taught how to survive in the wild by their mothers.

sa国际传媒淥tters are very, very dependent on their mom,sa国际传媒 Haulena says. sa国际传媒淭hey learn a lot from their mom. They learn how to forage from their mom, learn where to forage, what to forage, how to use tools, how to dive and how to escape from predators. All (that) is very learned behaviour.sa国际传媒

Rescuers do not know what became of Tofinosa国际传媒檚 mother but it is very unusual for pups to be abandoned.

sa国际传媒淪ea otter moms are meticulous and very caring mothers,sa国际传媒 Haulena says. sa国际传媒淭hey are very responsive to their pups, so the assumption is sa国际传媒 when there is an orphan pup sa国际传媒 is that something bad has happened to mother.sa国际传媒

A sea otter pup rescued in 2020, a male nicknamed Joey, was eventually transferred from the rescue society to Vancouver Aquarium after 33 days of care and is still housed there.

Haulena says the public attention on the rescue society generated by Tofino is the highest he has seen since Joeysa国际传媒檚 rescue in 2020, and the society is seeking donations to support the cost of caring for the pup and other animals at the centre.

He says the pup is no longer in critical condition, spending periods of 20 to 45 minutes in the water.

sa国际传媒淪hesa国际传媒檚 made a few attempts, but she cansa国际传媒檛 dive yet. And thatsa国际传媒檚 very normal for a pup of her age, but in the next few weeks, I expect she will pick that up or certainly within the next month,sa国际传媒 Haulena says.

He says she is sa国际传媒渙n track and doing well.sa国际传媒

sa国际传媒淚sa国际传媒檝e been doing this for a lot of years, and I know that things can go wrong. So Isa国际传媒檓 always a little bit cautious, but Isa国际传媒檒l describe it as cautiously optimistic at this point.sa国际传媒

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