From the moment Wally arrived at our Marine Mammal Rescue Centre in October 2013 his story resonated with visitors, supporters and members of the public.
Found on a Tofino beach suffering from gunshot wounds that left him blind and unable to be released into the wild, Wally’s rescue kicked off a groundswell of support that ensured his final years at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre were happy and comfortable. Wally passed away in his sleep early on Dec. 9. He was estimated to be between 15 and 17 years old, which is quite elderly for an otter.
As much as we are saddened to lose Wally, he leaves behind a hopeful legacy of community support that will be celebrated.
“In the end, this is a great story that shows us how one person could do something horrible to a wonderful animal but a whole great many could work very, very hard to do something good for him,” said Dr. Martin Haulena, head veterinarian at the Vancouver Aquarium. “He will continue to be an inspiration for a lot of people and a terrific example of the great work our institution does every day.”
Equally inspiring is the generosity of people young and old whose support helped provide excellent care for Wally in his final years. In addition to his blindness, Wally was left with other severe injuries that required a partial amputation of a flipper and a root canal to save a canine tooth. However, he regained his health and was able to find a home in our Otter exhibit, where he was introduced to and interacted with our female otters on a regular basis. He even allowed our staff to touch him for exams which is amazing for an adult male otter that had never interacted with people before. Along the way, many of you were touched by Wally’s story and gave generously toward his continued care as he aged.
We won’t soon forget Wally, nor our gratitude that the last few years of his life were excellent thanks to an incredible effort by many of you.
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, presented by Port Metro Vancouver and supported by Teekay Shipping, is a self-supporting, non-profit society and does not receive ongoing funds to provide around-the-clock care for its rescued and rehabilitated animals. Learn more about how your donation to the rescue centre helps to support rescued and rehabilitated animals like Wally.