(courtesy Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea)

An octopus that stole hearts on social media in June will soon depart from the public spotlight as he is set to be released.

Henry the octopus, named after BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, will be leaving his home at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea on December 15.

As a giant pacific octopus, Henry has a short lifespan of between three to five years. His species is highly intelligent, grows very large very quickly, and reproduces at the end of their life cycle.

The Centre says these factors are why they only keep octopuses for approximately six months through their “octopus ambassador program.”

As part of the release protocol, Octopuses are given veterinarian health checks and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans permits are obtained, along with certified divers.

With Henry’s time in the program coming to a close, the public is invited to take an interactive role in his release through a Guess the Weight contest.

Upon arrival and again before being released, octopuses are weighed at the Centre. In June, Henry weighed in at 5 lbs (2.3 kg).

“It’s anyone’s guess what the scale will register…but we’re pretty sure he’s put on a few pounds,” the Centre said in a statement.

Henry will be released near where he was collected, on the Island’s west coast.

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