'Timbit' the seal pup rescued off B.C. coast

A harbour seal pup found weak and alone on a beach has a sweet new name and is being cared for by specialized staff at the Vancouver Aquarium.

After being spotted by a concerned member of the public who called the RCMP, the pup was rescued and christened "Timbit," according to a statement from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

Each year, the seals, sea lions, otters and other creatures admitted are named according to a theme. This year's is "Sweet Treats."

The goal is to rehabilitate Timbit so he can be released back into the ocean. The care he is currently receiving includes being tube-fed five times a day and supplemental fluids.

The team at the rescue is reminding British Columbians that "pupping season" has begun and that just because a baby seal is alone, doesn’t mean it needs a human to intervene.

"This is an exciting time of year to see marine mammals in the wild. However, we want to remind the public not to disturb them," said Lindsaye Akhurst, Marine Mammal Rescue Centre manager in a news release. 

"It is important to remember that it is normal for harbour seal moms to leave their pups on the beach to rest while they forage elsewhere. The best thing you can do if you are observing a seal pup you suspect needs assistance is to keep people and pets back."

Akhurst says in recent years, "human interaction and interference" have led to "an alarming number of animals" being admitted to the rescue.

The rescue takes in around 150 animals each year, according to the statement, and 80 per cent are successfully rehabilitated and released.

Anyone who spots a seal pup is asked to call 604-258-7325, Other marine mammals can be reported to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans at 1-800-465-4336.