03/27/2013 06:06 EDT | Updated 03/27/2013 07:36 EDT

Porpoise Recovering At Vancouver Aquarium (VIDEO)

Against all odds, a porpoise that was stranded on a rock near Saanich Inlet is recovering at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

A Vancouver Island resident spotted the adult male porpoise on Tuesday night. Once stranded, the animals have a historically "very poor chance of recovery," especially if they have underlying health issues, said a news release from the centre on Wednesday.

Working with Cetus Research and Conservation Society and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, a team went to get the porpoise and transferred him to the rescue centre where he's been receiving around-the-clock care.

The porpoise isn't able to swim on his own, so staff have been helping him in a specially designed sling that keeps him afloat, explained Dr. Martin Haulena, a Vancouver Aquarium veterinarian.

"The first 48 hours are critical and our team will continue to provide critical care in the hope that he improves and can be re-released," he said.

It's unclear why the porpoise got stranded. Others have been stranded in the past due to injuries, or severe fungal or bacterial infections.

A porpoise would have to demonstrate that it can forage for food and avoid predators before it would be released into the wild, said Haulena.

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