A rescued seal pup named after Olympian Maelle Ricker was released back into the wild Tuesday with help from the gold medallist herself.
The pup, “Maelle Ricker,” was found in mid-December on Vancouver Island according to Lindsaye Akhurst with the Vancouver Aquarium.
“She didn’t even bat an eyelash going into the water,” said Lindsaye as the seal swam away from Cates Park in North Vancouver. “Her being an older animal when she came in, it’s nice that she’s doing so well, so fast.”
While being treated, the seal was named after 2010 gold medallist Maëlle Ricker, who was on hand for the release.
“I’m extremely honoured,” said the West Vancouver snowboarder. “She seems like she’s ready to get out and find her buddies in the ocean.”
Maëlle slowly swam away as Ricker and the rest of the aquarium staff watched her.
“It’s nice to be able to see her back out there where she should be,” Akhurst said, admitting it was bittersweet to let go of Maëlle after spending so much time together.
The aquarium rehabilitates hundreds of seal pups every year. Maelle is the 144th seal pup brought into the centre this year.
“With [the] summer, we’re anticipating a busy year.”
Ricker wants to continue helping with eliminating trash that ends in the ocean potentially hurting sea life.
“I know that there’s a lot of organized great Canadian shoreline cleanups in Squamish, I’d love to be a part of that.”