09/11/2012 08:14 EDT | Updated 09/11/2012 08:17 EDT

Seal Pups Rescued: Shadow, Midnight Pearl Released In Haida Gwaii (PHOTOS)


The Vancouver Aquarium rescue centre is celebrating the release of two rescued seal pups back into their natural habitat off the waters of Haida Gwaii Thursday.

When Shadow the harbour seal was found laying on rocks this spring, the newborn pup was half of the normal birthweight and still had his umbilical cord attached.

Ryan Ashton, a dock manager at the Queen Charlotte Lodge discovered the newborn pup and waited 48 hours for the seal's mom before he called the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. Shadow's mother did not return.

The pup still had his lanugo fur, "a dense white fur that is typically lost prior to birth, which indicates he was born prematurely," said Lindsaye Akhurst, the centre's manager.

With the help of staff over the phone, Ashton created a special formula, which he hand-fed to Shadow to help him restore his energy levels. Once the Shadow built up his strength to normal levels, aquarium officials decided to transport the seal pup to its Vancouver centre.

While at the facility, Shadow gained 25 kilograms -- a whopping increase from his original five kilograms.

Shadow was released back into his natural habitat along with Midnight Pearl, another rescued seal pup, on Thursday.

LOOK: Photos Of Shadow and Midnight Pearl's release

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