Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Tuesday, June 16, 2009

From the Hawkshaws, to Hawk Air to the Salt Spring Islands, the Americans cut the ports of Canada some slack and a search is curtailed for safety. Some of the highlights of the Tuesday edition of the Daily News.

RESCUED BABY SEAL MAKES AN IMPRESSION EN ROUTE TO VANCOUVER-- The travels of baby seal are reviewed as the Daily features a front page headline story of a seal pup rescue on the Skeena that ends on the Salt Spring Islands. (see story below)

The battle lines retreat between US Ports and their Canadian counterparts as the Americans withdraw some of their complaints about the nature of how Canadian ports are treated by our government. Sharp eyed Podunkians read about this on Friday as we outlined the changing nature of the American concerns on this very blog.

Likewise, the Daily catches up to the news cycle on the search for a fatality from an accident on Highway 16 west of car wash rock, as we recounted on Monday, the RCMP has called off the search for the occupant of a car that went into the Skeena River, explaining that river conditions at the moment are too dangerous to continue on with the task for the moment.

Rugby and Basketball events from Seafest weekend highlighted the sports section in the Tuesday paper as well, as the Daily News reviewed the play of the Prince Rupert Northmen as well as took a look at the basketball action at the annual festival.

Total pages in the Tuesday edition (12)

Front page, headline story:

By Monica LambYorski
The Daily News
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Pages one and three

Hawkair welcomed a unique pet to their Rupert office late last week.

The province's first rescued harbour seal pup of 2009 was plucked from the Skeena River Friday by a Terrace fishing couple after they noticed she was caught in their gillnet.

Fred and Linda Hawkshaw, fishing for Chinook on their vessel Tricia Lynn, and had just set their nets when Linda spied the pup.

"I looked out and said, oh oh that looks like a seal pup," said Linda. "It was the cutest dam thing I'd ever seen. She was calling for her mom and as we brought her on board you, could see she was stressed."

The fishing vessel was located in the middle of the river with a mile on each side so taking the pup to shore wasn't an option. If the boat had been closer to the beach, the Hawkshaws might have left her there for the mom to find her, but as far as Linda was concerned, the pup shouldn't have been in the water in the first place.

They are always born on shores or a rocky haul out.

Once Linda had the pup safely on board, she could see it was stressed. "She was just shaking. I dried her off and put her inside one of the containers on board with blankets underneath and a blanket on top. Within fifteen minutes she was fast asleep," she said.

From the boat, the couple called Gunther and Nancy Golinia, who run the Prince Rupert Wildlife Rehab Shelter, and told them they could bring the seal to the North Pacific Cannery Museum in Port Edward if someone would come out and pick it up.

When the couple came ashore, there was a group of tourists at North Pacific, eager to take photographs, Linda said.

In all 32 years of fishing, this was the first time the Hawkshaws have caught a baby seal in their nets. Usually the big ones will come in and steal fish, bite off the heads and leave.

"Fishermen out there will probably think we're crazy for saving a seal but if anything's a baby it deserves to be rescued," said Linda.

Bill Keating, a retired plumber/pipefitter from Prince Rupert, who has also served as an auxiliary policeman for the last 18 years, was at the wildlife shelter feeding a baby moose Friday afternoon when the Golinias got the call about the seal.

 He volunteered to go out to North Pacific to pick her up.

Once Keating arrived at the shelter, the Golinias checked the seal pup over, had the vet come and see her, and made sure she was healthy enough to travel.

After receiving a clean bill of health, they called Melanie Frizzell, Hawkair's base manager in Prince Rupert, and asked if the pup could be flown to Vancouver, where she would then travel to Salts Spring Island by helicopter to the Island Wildlife Natural Care Centre.

Frizzell told the Golinias if the seal was healthy she could fly.

"It's the second time we're sending a seal," said Frizzell at the Hawkair terminal on Saturday. "We sent a bigger one a few years ago that had a big gash on its side."

People in the waiting room crowded around to see the pup.

Once Gunther put her down on the floor, she manoeuvred along the carpet, calling out with sounds that resembled, "rna rna", and approached people.

A few times she headed toward the open door but was very receptive to people wanting to pet her.

"We've fed her about two litres of electrolytes, but can't feed her anything else because she could throw up," Gunther explained as he picked her up again.

"We had to make sure she was hydrated.

"Most animals die from dehydration."

After being weighed inside the kennel, staff put her along with the other luggage, including two traveling canine pups.

Speaking a few moments after the seal arrived at the centre on Saltspring Island, the centre's founder, Jeff Lederman, said she looked great.

"Her name is Arial," he said. "We usually let the transporter name the seals.

"Each year the centre picks a theme for naming pups and this year it is typewriter fonts.

"We have to pick a theme that has a hundred names because we received 80 to 100 seal pups each summer."

Lederman said seals are born a few weeks ahead on the North Coast so that would explain why she's the first eat pup they've received.

"She's three or four days old, judging from the freshness of the umbilicus, but she's a full term pup," he said.

Within moments of arriving, Arial was placed in intensive care to be weighed and tube fed with fluids.

Staff was making a herring smoothie, fortified that with vitamins and electrolytes to give to her.

She already has small teeth erupting so in about two weeks they will be trying her out on herring.

Lederman said often seal pups are abandoned, especially if they are underweight.

Arial is underweight at 18 pounds because the ideal weight for a newborn is between 22 to 24 pounds. Other times first-time moms will abandon their pups as well.

If a pup does stay with its morn, it will nurse about four weeks and then be left on its own to learn to fish.

"Many of them lose a third of their body weight learning how to catch fish and many don't survive," Lederman said.

Arial will spend time in isolation and the seal pups graduate to one of the centre's seven above ground pools they share with other pups.

She'll be tossed fish to eat until she reaches 55 to 60 pounds.

"That's about the point where her morn would wean her," explained Lederman.

From there, she'll share a nursery pool - eight feet wide and three feet deep - with 15 other seals.

She'll be colour coded with a thumb-print on the top of her fur so staff can keep track of her feeding habits.

After about two and half months she'll be released in the ocean with half a dozen other rescued pups in the waters down south.

"She will not return to Prince Rupert,” Lederman said.

No comments: