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Rescue Centre Staff Work To Save Sea Otter Suffering From Gunshot Wounds
Posted on October 22, 2013
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Our veterinary team at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre is working around-the-clock to save an adult sea otter suffering from gunshot wounds to his head and body.

Members of the public saw the animal in distress along the shoreline of Tofino, B.C. last week and reported a number of disconcerting signs. The sea otter appeared to have suffered serious injuries to his flippers and remained in the same location for an extended period of time. It failed to flee when members of the public approached to investigate his condition.

The sea otter was brought to our Rescue Centre on October 18 where he is receiving critical care from Rescue Centre staff. The team is working to stabilize him but diagnostic tests revealed that his condition is very serious.

Dr. Martin Haulena, the Vancouver Aquarium’s veterinarian, is very concerned. The sea otter is in poor condition and X-rays show shotgun pellets in his face and body. The sea otter is currently blind and sustained a serious fracture to his right hind flipper due to the gunshot wounds. Dr. Haulena and his team are doing everything they can to save him.

A number of procedures have been performed on the ailing sea otter, including a partial amputation of his injured flipper. Due to his injuries, he cannot effectively groom himself, which is essential for a sea otter’s thermoregulation. Dr. Haulena and the veterinary team at the Rescue Centre are stabilizing his temperature by towel- and blow-drying him by hand.

The sea otter is currently being treated with fluids, pain medication and antibiotics. The veterinary team is hopeful the sea otter will recover.


The Vancouver Aquarium asks the public to report marine mammals that appear to be in distress by contacting its Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604-258-SEAL (7325).

Donations made to the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre directly support the veterinary team’s ability to rescue distressed marine animals and provide the necessary medical care for rehabilitation and safe release back into the wild. You can provide support by donating today.

Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre

The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, presented by Port Metro Vancouver and supported by Teekay Shipping, is a hospital for sick, injured or orphaned marine mammals. The Rescue Centre rescues and rehabilitates stranded marine mammals for release back into their natural habitat. Donate to the Rescue Centre at


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    1. Thanks for your inquiry, Kesha! He’s hanging in there and slowly recovering. The Aquarium’s marine mammal rescue team continues to provide Wally with close monitoring and their best care, so we are hoping that the recovery continues. You can also get regular updates on Wally’s condition on the Rescue Centre’s Facebook page at Cheers.

  1. How is Pirate today?? Do they know if he is going to be out of critical condition soon or if he is going to recover??

    Sending warm thoughts!

    – Mandi

  2. Our hearts and loving thoughts are with you All, especially for the quick healing and recovery of lil’ Pirate — we all love him! . . .

    Would you please kindly let us know of how many wounds he sustained and needs healing? . . .

    Thanks kindly for all your care — you are All very much appreciated for the fantastic work and help that you give for our marine mammal friends of the sea.

    1. Thanks for your support. The otter is recovering but still in critical condition. We are monitoring him very closely. We will be sure to provide an update when there is more to share.

  3. Thank you for what you are doing for these animals. I can offer nothing but my good wishes and hopes that the little chap does well and you are able to continue your work. Blessings on you all.

  4. With these injuries won’t it be highly unlikely that he will be released? If so, what happens to him?
    Hope he makes it.