Henry has left one bubble for a much larger one.
Henry, the giant Pacific octopus named after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, returned to the Pacific Wednesday after spending the last six months at Sidney’s Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea.
The male cephalopod arrived in June to much fanfare. He left weighing 22 pounds, or 9.8 kilograms, having added 17 pounds or 7.7 kg since his arrival.
Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea captured the release in a video posted on Facebook.
“(Bye) Henry, we’ll miss you.”
The scheduled release of the animal reflects traditional practice. As the centre says in the release, octopuses are highly intelligent, grow incredibly large (and fast) with a short lifespan of three to five years, and reproduce at the end of respective their life cycles.
“Gather all of these elements together and it’s clear why the Centre limits each octopus to approximately six months in residence.”
According to his caretakers, the animal’s name was fitting. “This particular octopus, more than any former octopus resident, has been particularly calm, just like Dr. Henry,” it reads.
The Octopus was named in June for Dr. Henry.
“Before a new octopus arm (arm, arm, arm, arm, arm, arm, arm) stepped ‘foot’ in the centre, the team knew recognizing the incredible grace, kindness, intelligence, compassion, dedication and calm demeanor Dr. Bonnie Henry has shown the province during COVID-19 was a given,” said Tina Kelly, director of communications for the Shaw Centre.
Bonnie Henry (the octopus) turned out to be a boy, and goes by health officer’s surname instead. The cephalopod was welcomed to the aquarium June 18 and was to spend roughly six months meeting visitors before being released back into the wild.
Kelly noted that Pacific octopuses have three hearts, a symbol that has become widely associated with gratitude for Henry and other health care and frontline workers.
The Shaw Centre’s last octopus, Pebbles, was released back into the wild in March shortly after the centre closed in response to COVID-19.
The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea is a non-profit aquarium and learning centre dedicated exclusively to the Salish Sea bioregion.
Please note that current Provincial Health Protocols currently advise against travelling outside your region to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
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