August 1, 2017 2:03 pm

Rescued sea otter moves into nursery at Vancouver Aquarium

A tiny, two to four-week-old male sea otter is getting 24-hour care after he was found swimming alone in open waters off northern Vancouver Island on Sunday.

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Good things happen to cute creatures. At least that seems to be the case for Hardy, the baby sea otter rescued in June from the waters near northern Vancouver Island.

The pup captured the hearts of many when he was first launched in public and has since been catapulted to local fame.

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Hardy, named in honour of the place he was rescued, marked another milestone in his young life. He has now moved into the nursery at the Vancouver Aquarium to continue receiving 24-hour care from the sea otter experts on-site.

“Hardy has been doing really well; he’s hitting all of his developmental milestones and thriving,” said Kristi Heffron, senior marine mammal trainer at Vancouver Aquarium, in a release.

“He’ll continue to receive 24-hour care here at the Aquarium as he transitions to eating solid food and learns how to groom himself independently, swim in deeper water, and interact with the other otters.”

READ MORE: California aquarium welcomes birth of fuzzy baby sea otter

The aquarium said Hardy has gained weight, grown stronger and more active over the past five weeks and with the help of staff and volunteers, the pup has recently started grooming, exploring underwater, and learning to dive.

When Hardy arrived at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre he was too young to have learned essential skills and would not survive in the wild; which deemed him non-releasable.

Since the 1980s, the Aquarium and its Rescue Centre have supported sea otter rehabilitation and provided a home for non-releasable animals. Heffron started rehabilitating sea otter pups in 2007, continuing this work when she joined the Aquarium team in 2009.

“We’re excited to introduce Hardy to otters Rialto, Mak, Kunik, Katmai, and Tanu, as well as to our visitors in time. But right now, we’re focused on helping him settle into his new home,” Heffron said.

WATCH MORE: Seattle Aquarium sea otter with asthma trained to use inhaler

Aquarium visitors are yet to see Hardy firsthand, but his adoring fans can catch him on a live-feed broadcast from a monitor at the sea otter viewing area. They can also follow Hardy’s progress on Vancouver Aquarium’s social media accounts.

To make a contribution to Hardy’s care, click here.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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