Sea lions are charismatic marine mammals found along the west coast of North America. They are regularly seen (and heard!) in Barkley and Clayoquot Sounds – hauled on rocky islets, swimming in harbours, and catching waves in the surf. In recent years many sea lions have been observed in distress in local waters, entangled in various types of marine debris. Marty and Wendy will present on the Vancouver Aquarium’s Sea Lion Disentanglement Project, a program to address sea lion entanglement issues in B.C. The illustrated talk will provide an overview of sea lion entanglements observed in local waters, and describe the development of an anesthetic protocol for disentangling sea lions as well as the issues involved with disentanglement operations.
Dr. Martin Haulena graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in 1993. He completed a clinical internship in aquatic animal medicine at Mystic Aquarium in 1996 and a Master’s degree in pathobiology from the University of Guelph in 1999. He became a Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine in 2007. Dr. Haulena was the Staff Veterinarian at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California for 9 years. He has been Staff Veterinarian at the Vancouver Aquarium since 2006. His special interests are in the medical management of aquatic animals, particularly marine mammals, with emphasis on innovative diagnostic methods such as MRIs, endoscopy and sonography, developing safe anaesthetic protocols and improving surgical techniques. Veterinary students from around the world study aquatic animal medicine each year under the direction of Dr. Haulena. He serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University and Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre. His professional affiliations include the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine, Wildlife Disease Association and the American Association of Zoological Veterinarians. He has authored over 45 scientific journal articles and book chapters.
Wendy Szaniszlo (MSc.) is a marine mammal ecologist with over 14 years of experience conducting research and monitoring of marine mammal species-at-risk in collaboration with other government agencies, universities and research groups. Her work has involved cetacean surveys, humpback and grey whale monitoring programs, Steller sea lion population assessments and brand re-sight surveys, involvement in sea lion diet studies, as well as participating in sea lion branding and tagging programs. Wendy’s love for Barkley and Clayoquot Sounds began years ago when doing her graduate field work, which involved studying sea lion interactions with vessels in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Her most recent focus is investigating sea lion entanglement in fishing gear and marine debris. Wendy has worked with Parks Canada for over 14 years in various capacities including as a Planning Assistant with a National Marine Conservation Area feasibility study, as well as a Species-at-Risk Planner. She has continued working as a contracting marine mammal biologist for the National Marine Mammal Lab (NMFS), Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and most recently as a Research Associate with the Vancouver Aquarium. Wendy’s passion is doing applied research to protect marine mammals and their habitat.