Lindsaye Akhurst, manager of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre is trained to rescue harbour seals and otters, but she’s had no experience with beavers — until last week, that is.
“We got a call (on Jan. 26) from the members of the public who thought they saw a beaver get hit by a car, and when they got closer they saw people chasing it into the ocean,” Akhurst said.
“Salt water is actually toxic for beavers. We deal with marine life so we called Critter Care to ask for assistance.”
Staff from Langley’s Critter Care Wildlife Society offered to drive to Vancouver to help locate the animal, but because the beaver was in salt water, there was only so much time. That’s when Akhurst and another member of the aquarium staff decided to see if they could find the beaver.
Somewhat appropriately, the beaver was located in Stanley Park’s Beaver Creek, which is connected to Beaver Lake, noted Akhurst with a chuckle.
“We observed the beaver swimming slowly and looking disoriented,” she said.
They phoned Critter Care’s Breanne Glinnum to share their observations.
“She asked us to capture him.”
Although she has rescued a handful of sea lions, seals and otter pups, Akhurst asked Critter Care what to expect when rescuing a beaver.
“We’ve learned so much about beavers. It’s really cool to be able to partner with Critter Care,” she said.
With help from parks staff, they managed to capture the beaver in brackish water and place it safely in a kennel. Since Akhurst lives close to Critter Care, she transported the beaver to the Langley wildlife rehabilitation centre herself.
The beaver was checked out by Critter Care staff when he arrived. He has since been named Stanley.
“He seemed sore, but OK. He needed some anti-inflammatories but luckily we couldn’t see any signs of trauma,” said Glinnum, animal care supervisor at Critter Care.
“We checked for toxicity from the salt water but there wasn’t any, thanks to the quick work of Vancouver Aquarium staff.”
Stanley was set up in his own enclosure at the centre where he happily munched on branches and rodent pellets while recovering.
“He’s put on some weight while he was with us,” she said.
“He passed his re-evaluation this morning (Jan. 29) and has the all clear for release in the next few days.”
Akhurst said it was “really nice to help out and work with Critter Care.”
Feeling ‘invested’ in Stanley, Akhurst personally picked him up for his transport back to Stanley Park.
Vancouver Aquarium worked with the park’s ecological team to find a suitable place to release Stanley.
Once that location was determined, they opened the kennel door and watched the iconic Canadian symbol head for the creek he will call home.
“He was so weak when I brought him to Critter Care and it was cool to see him with so much energy,” Akhurst said.