Northern seal a first at centre

February 2, 2016

One of my favourite PBS television shows (and I like many, many of the programs on PBS) is Knowledge Network’s (out of Vancouver, BC, Canada) “Hope for Wildlife”. It features the daily agonies and ecstasies of attempting and often succeeding in nursing injured wild animals back to health and releasing them back into their wildlife habitats.

I do not know if I was even aware of these not-for-profit facilities for injured wild animals until my son, Luke, and I moved to Salt Spring Island and the end of the 20th century.

It was there that we learned about a facility similar to Hope for Wildlife on the island. The philosophy behind it is, because we, as humans, are constantly infringing on wildlife habitat which often results in animal injury, we have a responsibility to nurse these animals back to health so they can re-enter natural habitat settings.

Here is an article I wrote about it the facility on Salt Spring Island:

Gulf Islands Driftwood

February 23, 2000

Northern seal a first at centre

by Tanya Lester

It could be from anywhere as far west as Japan and as far south as California, but Jeff Lederman of the Island Wildlife Natural Care Centre (IWNCC) thinks their first northern fur seal guest came from the Alusian Islands in Alaska.

The northern fur seal, which is actually a miniature sea lion, arrived at IWNCC on February 8 after being rescued from Kelsey Bay in Sayward on Vancouver Island. It was being harassed by people at a fish farm who often kill sea lions and other animals preying on fish, even though it is illegal to do so, said Lederman.

The woman who saved it said the sea lion was in the same part of the water for three days.

Lederman said that at 15 pounds the seal is at 50 per cent of its body weight. Like all sea lions, it walks around on its flippers and is “adorable”, according to Lederman, with a big head and big flippers attached to an emaciated body covered in soft,grey fur.

Since its arrival, IWNCC volunteers have been struggling to keep it alive with five tube feedings of fish formula each day, Ledman said.

It is living in the indoor intensive care ward and being given antibiotics as well as homeopathic remedies for dehydration, pneumonia, bowell problems and flukes, a body paraside in the tapeworm family, according to Lederman.

He said the northern fur seal will appear close to death one day but will be improved enough to climb the walls on the next day. Lederman said the sea lion likes to bite when he is feeling better.

Northern sea lions can live in the water for months, said Lederman. They swim and sleep in the water with 75 per cent of them going to the Alusian Islands to breed each June.

The IWNCC has had an 80 per cent survival rate with harbour seals, which are much more common residents. Other animals recently rehabilitated include three ducks still left over from the last canola oil spill, two balk eagles, a great blue heron and a gull.


Tanya Lester’s web site is and she has pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Twitter. email:  or call 250-538-0086 cell.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s