Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Vancouver Aquarium announced on Friday the launch of a limited-edition face mask that features Joey, a rescued sea otter pup who has become a global YouTube sensation and an ‘emotional support otter’ to people all over the world during the pandemic.
The limited-edition Whitecaps FC x Vancouver Aquarium Joey face masks are available for order at vanaquashop.org and at the Whitecaps FC official store. Adult masks are available for $19.99 and kid's masks for $17.99, plus tax and shipping. All net proceeds from the sales will benefit the Vancouver Aquarium and Ocean Wise Conservation Association.
Thousands of devoted Joey followers – from as far away as Germany and Japan – tune in daily to the 24/7 live ‘JoeyCam’ to be part of the now 3-month-old otter’s rehabilitation journey. Joey has captured the hearts and minds of fans around the world and is having a big impact on people’s emotional health during the pandemic.
“Since his rescue, Joey has helped so many people and become an incredible ambassador for the work of the Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Rescue Centre and the Vancouver Aquarium,” said Mackenzie Neale, director of animal care at Vancouver Aquarium. “We are extremely grateful to Whitecaps FC for their ongoing support and look forward to seeing Joey’s cute little face on masks all over town!”
Due to the pandemic, Ocean Wise paused public programming at the Vancouver Aquarium in September and is focused on developing a new model that will be financially viable while accelerating its mission of ocean conservation. Fundraising by Whitecaps FC and other community partners continues to help Ocean Wise provide the aquarium’s animals with the highest possible care.
“The Vancouver Aquarium is an important and beloved institution that is still in a critical time of need,” said Axel Schuster, chief executive officer of Vancouver Whitecaps FC. “Joey has made a connection with people all over the world and reminded us what a cherished community asset we have in the Aquarium. Once again, we are asking all Vancouverites who are able, to join us in this campaign to help ensure the 70,000 animals continue to get expert care.”
The new design is part of Whitecaps FC’s ongoing campaign to sell exclusive high-performance, locally manufactured athletic face masks, with all net proceeds benefitting the not-for-profit aquarium and its parent organization Ocean Wise Conservation Association.
In addition to the launch, Whitecaps FC will be donating Joey face masks to patients at BC Children’s Hospital. The hospital and club are longstanding community partners and recently hosted a virtual visit between oncology patients and first team players for MLS WORKS Kick Childhood Cancer month.
- Performance moisture-wicking fabric
- Breathable, reusable and washable
- Stretchy ear-loop for maximum comfort
- Strong double needle stitching Internal sleeve pouch allowing you to insert a filter of your choice
- Made in Canada
- Small: Mask 7 x 5 inches with 3 inch ear loop
- Medium: Mask 7 ½ x 5 ½ inches with 4 inch ear loop
- Large: Mask 8 x 6 inches with 5 inch ear loop
- This product is non-medical and does not replace N95 or other medical grade masks.
- Wearing a non-medical mask in the community has not been proven to protect the person wearing it. However, the use of a non-medical mask or facial covering can be an additional measure you can take to protect others around you.
- Face masks or facial coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Wearing a non-medical mask when in public or other settings is not a replacement for following proven measures such as hand washing and physical distancing.
Joey was estimated to be 10 days old when rescued off the coast of Vancouver Island this past July. He weighted 1.76 kg (3.5 pounds) and was suffering from hypoglycemia and hypothermia. He was placed into intensive care and tended to by Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Rescue Centre staff and volunteers around the clock until stable enough to move to his own nursery at the Vancouver Aquarium in August.
Thanks to a 24/7 YouTube livestream, Joey’s daily activities are watched by thousands every day, and he has become an ‘emotional support otter’ to people from all over the world according to viewer commentary and international media coverage. Of 500 subscribers recently surveyed by Vancouver Aquarium, 100 per cent shared how Joey made them feel better, helped them get through a difficult time and/or helped with depression during the COVID-19 pandemic.