VAMMR Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre Patient Directory


Patient Record

Species: Harbour Seal

Patient ID: PV2101

Admitted on: 2021/05/23

Collection Site: Twin Islands, Howe Sound

Reason for Admission: Injuries

Weight at Admission: 57.9 kg

Patient Status: transferred

Time in Care: 137 days (4 months, 2 weeks, 1 day)

Transfer History

Received from: (Direct to MMR)

Mode of Transport: VPD Vessel

Transfer to: Vancouver Aquarium

Date of Transfer: 2021/10/07

Reason for Transfer: Deemed non-releasable by Fisheries and Oceans Canada


Earlier in the month, the rescue centre and our partners at Fisheries and Oceans Canada received reports from Indian Arm indicating that a seal had been hit by a boat, but the animal could not be located for some time. Donnelly, likely to be that animal, was ultimately admitted with serious head trauma from a boat strike, and in grave condition.

Patient Updates

Donnelly was transferred to Vancouver Aquarium after 137 days in our care.

Donnelly is slowly improving day by day. She is increasingly more active in her pool, however she spends the majority of her day resting on her haul out. She is still being monitored very closely by our animal care team.

It's now been a week since her surgery, and Donnelly is showing first signs of improvement. The surgical site is closing as best as can be expected; facial swelling has decreased, and she responded well to antibiotics during the course of her treatment. As of last night, she is no longer receiving any medication. Donnelly is spending more time swimming and has access to water for most of the day now. She has also demonstrated that she can haul out on her own, which is a good sign. And Donnely is eating again! She currently eats about 3-3.5 kg per day on average. Some fish are still hand-fed, some are free-fed. Staff were also in for a big surprise. While performing diagnostics during her procedure, ultrasound imaging confirmed what her initial physical exam and radiographs had shown ─ she's actually pregnant! Staff are monitoring Donnelly via a 'baby cam', which ─ sorry folks ─ will not be available to the public. We also don't know how far along Donnelly is in her pregnancy, but we can see the baby moving inside her belly ─ and pupping season has begun in British Columbia! And while this news is very exciting for us, and Donnely's recent progress encouraging, we are still very concerned for her and her baby. It is still too early to predict any outcome, but staff are very cautiously optimistic.

Donnelly remains in critical condition. She has shown some activity during her swims, but is not eating. Staff are working to stabilize her over the next few days before they can conduct further diagnostics.

Donnelly has been treated with antibiotics and given pain medication. Her prognosis is poor, but staff are doing what they can to make her comfortable.

Guestbook for Donnelly

  1. Dear Donnelly,
    You will be cared for and loved and hopefully feel less pain and be comforted. I am sorry you were hurt by humans, life can be so hard. All my love – you are in caring, loving hands.

  2. Donnelly, you are in the best possible hands. I am so sorry that we humans have harmed you, and know that the wonderful humans who have you now will help you every way they can.

  3. Donnelly, sending you all the love. Dearly hope and wish you will pull through 🙏

  4. You are in great hands Donnelly, and I’m praying that you will pull through and get better!! ❤️

  5. Be strong Donnelly! You have an army of strange, technology-loving apes cheering you on!

  6. Donnelly, I’m so sorry you have suffered this tragedy. Be strong and know the good people at MMR are doing their best for you. Lots of love and prayers coming your way. We all want you to get through this sad situation.

  7. We hope you heal up, Donnelly! We are sending love and healing vibes your way. Praying that you pull through from this tragic accident.

  8. We named her Lucille the seal when we found her, but Donnelly works too. I hope she pulls through! Glad she is off those rocks and in good care ❤️ Thanks for helping her out— I hope she heals up or at least stays comfortable in your care

  9. Dear Lucille the seal,
    I hope you pull through, I will never forget how sad it was to see you clinging to the rocks. I am so happy you have been rescued and I hope you’ll be soon back to gulping up fish in Indian Arm. Your pup friends miss you.

  10. I’m so glad you were found Donnelly, and are receiving care. I hope you make it!

  11. Hey sweet Donnelly, I hope from the bottom of my heart that you make a good and peaceful recovery, I’ll be waiting for a photo of that beautiful face.

  12. Please know u r so loved and cared for I pray that u have a full recovery

  13. Sending you hope and an abundance of love sweet Donnelly. You are an innocent seal and I’m so sorry you were hurt and are now suffering. MMR is a wonderful place and you will receive the very best care. I hope they will help you have as little pain and sorrow as possible. I pray you find peace and comfort. Be strong and know you are loved by people all over the world.

  14. Donnelly, keep it up!! You are doing so well with your recovery. Please continue eating and gaining strength, not just for you but for you little one as well 💕 we are all rooting for you 🙂

  15. Dear Donnelly,

    We are thinking of you often ever since Jenn & John saved you and MMR has provided amazing care for you. Hoping for a full recovery for you and your baby!

    You are in my grandpa’s prayers.

    Looking forward to seeing you and your pup swimming around the Indian Arm next time we paddle up.

  16. Hope you feel better soon sweet girl! Best wishes for a speedy recovery for you and your baby! Sending lots of love from NC!

  17. So happy that Donnelly is improving and that she is so well cared for, particularly, since she is in the family way.

  18. Hi Donnelly- I think of you often and it makes my heart hurt that you have had so much suffering. You have proven how tough, brave and strong you are so I am very proud of you. MMRC has taken such good care of you and I’m happy you are responding well and making progress. I know you and your precious baby seal have a long way to go but please keep fighting so you can have a long happy seal life. I am glad you are safe and I am sending you all the love in my heart. I’ll check on you in a few days sweet Donnelly & sweet baby Donnelly.

  19. Can’t wait to hear about Donnelly’s pregnancy progress. We are so happy to hear this news. Thank you for taking such good care of her and helping her heal!

  20. Hello beautiful Donnelly. So much suffering caused by humans. You are strong and receiving the best care. You need to stay strong for you and your baby. You can do this, you are a survivor. I cannot wait to see your baby and you doing well. Lots of 💕 love and prayers 🦭

  21. Hi Donnelly- Been thinking about you and hope you are doing well and healing from your injury. I know its been really hot in Vancouver lately so I hope you have been staying cool. I hope your little baby is doing well and you are taking care of the both of you. You are strong so keep up the good work. Sending you prayers, love and hope.

  22. Hi Donnelly- I hear you are still hanging in there and doing well given your circumstances. Just wanted to say HI and encourage you to keep fighting and being strong for you and your baby. Lots and lots of love to you precious girl.
    Be well and take care

  23. Hi again Donnelly- Saw a post on Instagram of your stitched up head and think you are the bravest seal I’ve ever seen. Its been a few weeks since you were rescued and have been at MMRC. I hope you continue to do well and are staying strong for you and your sweet baby seal pup. Sending you more love, hope and prayers. Stay strong and brave and know that we are all pulling for you.

  24. Hi Donnelly, I hope you and your little pup are doing well! We are all thinking of you and hoping you are well. I am pregnant, too – my heart goes out to you. You must be very strong to have gone through what you did. Best wishes for a full recovery.

  25. Hi and congratulations sweet Donnelly! You bravely and safely delivered your precious little pup, Dory. She is healthy and happy. The pictures of the two of you together are the cutest. You should be so very proud. You are a true warrior, fighter and survivor. Stay strong, keep fighting and being brave. Be well and enjoy being with your precious Dory.

  26. Hi Donnelly- Your precious baby girl Miss Dory has doubled in weight and is doing great. I hope you are doing just as well and feeling better and better every day. Thinking of you and sending you lots and lots of love. Keep up the good work and I look forward to checking on your progress soon. Love you sweet Mama!

  27. Hi Donnelly, how have you been doing lately? Have you been spending time with Dory? Hope you are doing better. Wish you the best recovery. ♥

  28. Dear Dons, love you miss you so much.

    I hope you’re having a really fun life in Van Aquarium, I can’t wait to visit you there soon, it’s been too long.

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