VANCOUVER, BC–The Vancouver Aquarium is excited to announce the establishment of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Society (VAMMR) as a newly registered charity. VAMMR is an independent registered charity proud to be working in partnership with the Vancouver Aquarium. Donations will go directly to VAMMR and help rescue, rehabilitate, and release marine mammals in distress.
“For more than 60 years, the VAMMR program has rescued, rehabilitated and released thousands of marine animals, including seals, sea otters, turtles, porpoises, and sea lions,” said VAMMR Executive Director Dr. Martin Haulena. “We also respond to medical emergencies in the field, including disentangling marine mammals caught in fishing gear or plastic. No one else in Canada, and few facilities around the world, have the skills and expertise our team does to help in these situations.”
Internationally renowned for groundbreaking rescue techniques and veterinary innovation, VAMMR responds to over 300 marine mammal emergencies annually and runs Canada’s only dedicated marine mammal hospital facility.
“Getting our charitable status is a significant milestone in our history,” said Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Manager Lindsaye Akhurst. “With the support of our donors, we will be able to give even more marine mammals a second chance at life.”
It is important to remember that it is normal to see marine mammals inhabiting our local waters, and while they may look approachable, they are wild animals. If you observe a marine mammal, you suspect it needs assistance, please keep people and pets back and call the Department of Fisheries and Oceans or VAMMR. Members of the public are encouraged to call the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada incident reporting hotline at 1-800-465-4336 for any other marine mammal incidences or VAMMR at 604. 258.SEAL(7325). You can provide support for VAMMR by going to www.vammr.org.
About Vancouver Aquarium
Since opening in 1956, the Vancouver Aquarium has connected more than 40 million people from around the world to our oceans and inspired them to take action to address key threats. Located in Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium is home to hundreds of incredible species. The Vancouver Aquarium is a fully accredited member of Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA), Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA), and Humane Conservation Certified by American Humane.
About Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Society
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Society (VAMMR) runs Canada’s only dedicated marine mammal rescue facility. Each year the team responds to over 300 marine animal emergencies, including the rescue and rehabilitation of sick, injured, or orphaned animals and the disentanglement of sea lions trapped by marine debris. Hundreds of marine mammals (from seals, sea lions, and sea otters to small cetaceans) have been given a second chance at life thanks to VAMMR.
VAMMR is an independent registered charity proud to be working in partnership with the Vancouver Aquarium. Donations will go directly to VAMMR and help rescue, rehabilitate and release marine mammals in distress.
Why did the Rescue Centre become a registered charity?
This change helps VAMMR expand its vital work of rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing marine mammals in distress. With the support of our donors, we will be able to give even more marine mammals a second chance at life. VAMMR will be able to raise money for important medical equipment, improving infrastructure, and creating a world-class hospital facility.
How will VAMMR be independent?
VAMMR has dedicated staff and volunteers, a board of directors, and separate finance and donor management systems.
Will donations go directly to VAMMR?
All donations will go directly to VAMMR and help rescue, rehabilitate, and release marine mammals in distress. VAMMR is committed to total transparency for donors, including regular reporting on how funds are being used. VAMMR will have a unique donor database and management system (CRM) separate from the Vancouver Aquarium.
Is VAMMR still governed by the same laws and regulations as before?
As a registered charity, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Society will be governed by all Canada Revenue Agency laws and regulations. On the operations side, VAMMR will continue partnering with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and follow the Marine Mammal Regulations, made under authority of the Fisheries Act. All rescues, rehabilitation and releases are authorized through a Statement of Work, and licenses issued by DFO.
What do donations support?
Donations will go directly to VAMMR and help rescue, rehabilitate, and release marine mammals in distress. Donors will also ensure the team can continue important research and public engagement work, helping advance marine mammal conservation.
Will the work of VAMMR change at all?
No, the change to a registered charity does not change the work of VAMMR. The team with the support of donors, will continue to respond to marine mammal emergencies along our coast and run Canada’s only dedicated marine mammal hospital facility.