Levi released back into Inlet

Porpoise treated and released by Vancouver Aquarium staff

SIDNEY — A male Harbour porpoise, rescued out of the Saanich Inlet at Towner Bay late last March, has been released back into the wild after five months of rehabilitation at the Vancouver Aquarium.

On Tuesday morning, the porpoise, who was named Levi, was returned by Aquarium staff to the Inlet where he was discovered. Levi was discovered standed on rocks by area residents who called various wildlife rescue organizations. Levi was later determined to be suffering from an infection and other injuries, including a low body weight and wounds sustained while he was stranded on the rocks of the bay.

The Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, with the help of other groups, treated the porpoise. According to Clint Wright, senior vice-president and Aquarium general manager, Levi’s release is a milestone event.

“It’s the first time our veterinary team … has rehabilitated a wild cetacean onsite, and successfully released it back to the wild,” Wright stated in a letter obtained by the Peninsula News Review.

“In reality only about 10 per cent of stranded cetaceans from the Pacific coast survive and are successfully rehabilitated for release back to the wild. The intense effort we’ve invested into the care of this harbour porpoise will leave us with valuable experience which will be applied to other cetaceans that may need our help.”

— with files from the PNR