11/20/2013 03:35 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST

Seals released with GPS trackers by Vancouver Aquarium

Five seals equipped with satellite transmitters were released by the Vancouver Aquarium this morning, in order to track how well rehabilitated animals fair once released into the wild.

The seals, which were cared for at the aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, were released at Porteau Cove in Howe Sound, just north of Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway, on Wednesday morning, along with two other seals that were not equipped with transmitters.

Last year the aquarium also released five seals with transmitters, and tracked them as far as the northern tip of Vancouver Island before batteries in the transmitters expired.

"We are always eager to better understand the factors that affect the survival of rescued, rehabilitated and released animals,” said the aquarium's veterinarian, Dr. Martin Haulena, in statement released on Wednesday morning.  

"We want to know what happens to the animals after they are returned to the wild, what are the ideal release locations, and should we change any of our rehabilitation practices while they are in our care. These are important questions that satellite tracking can help us answer.”

Earlier this year, the aquarium also released a rehabilitated adult harbour porpoise, nicknamed Levi, with a satellite-linked transmitter attached to his dorsal fin.

The battery in Levi’s tag lasted for 70 days and provided a groundbreaking opportunity to study numerous aspects of harbour porpoise activity in the wild for over two months, said the statement.