Last October, my brother and I, along with three of our friends, took a trip out to Tofino. We were expecting a few days of relaxation, surfing and sightseeing. The last thing we were expecting was to find an injured sea otter in the water right outside of our cottage.
It was our last night in Tofino, and we decided to head down to the water, thinking we might be able to see some marine life if we were lucky. To our surprise, we spotted a sea otter not far from the shoreline.
We tried to stay quiet and to stay back a fair distance so that we didn’t scare him off. After some time, we decided to try and get a little closer. As we go closer to the otter, we noticed one of his flippers didn’t look quite right.
We are not animal experts by any means, but we could tell something was wrong. We also thought it was a bit strange that we were so close to the otter and he didn’t seem to mind, or be scared off.
When one of our friends was close enough to get a good look, we knew that this otter’s flipper was injured and we had to do something to try and help him. We called a number of organizations and centres that we hoped would be able to help. Our efforts seemed to be going nowhere. We didn’t know much about otters and we didn’t know what our newfound friend’s condition really was, but we didn’t want to give up hope.
We finally got in touch with the Vancouver Aquarium and explained the situation. At that point, it was getting late and the sun was going down. We knew that the otter would have to wait at least until the next morning before anyone would be able to help him. Unfortunately, we had to leave early the next morning to head back to Vancouver and weren’t sure what would happen, or if the otter we had found would get the help he needed.
Two mornings later, we were overjoyed to get a text message with a photo of our otter friend! He had been successfully rescued by the Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, and was in Vancouver getting the care and treatment he needed! As time went on, we were shocked to find out that our otter, now officially named Wally, had been shot several times, and had more injuries than we ever imagined.
Over the past seven months, we have followed Wally’s recovery online, rooting for him all the way! A while ago, I was able to go to the Aquarium with my brother and one of our friends to visit Wally.
We were thrilled to spend some time talking with Brian S. from the Aquarium’s Marine Mammal team, who filled us in on Wally’s progress. We got to watch Wally eat lunch and swim around in his new home. It was great to see Wally doing so well, especially compared to the condition he was in when we found him back in Tofino. We’re so glad that Wally continues to make great strides in his recovery at his new home at the Vancouver Aquarium!
Guest blog post written by Gillian Tiessen, who was part of the group who initially found injured sea otter Wally off the coast of Tofino and called the Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. To learn more about the Rescue Centre’s work and how to support it, visit here.