A veterinary team at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Center is working to save a severely injured otter suffering from gunshot wounds to his head and body.
Assisting the team is Lesanna L. Lahner, a staff veterinarian at the Seattle Aquarium. She performed ultrasound and helped with surgery on the otter.
The otter was discovered along the shoreline of Tofino, B.C. last week in considerable distress. The animal had remained in the same location for an extended period of time, failed to flee when approached by humans and had serious injuries to his flippers.
The Rescue Center admitted the otter on Oct 18. Tests revealed that his condition is very serious.
“He’s in extremely rough shape and I’m very concerned about him,” said Dr. Martin Haulena, Vancouver Aquarium veterinarian. “X-rays show that he has been shot with a shotgun and there are pellets in his face and body. Due to the gunshot wounds, he is currently blind and one of his flippers sustained a serious injury. Although his situation is grave, we are doing everything we can to save this animal.”
A number of advanced surgeries have been performed on the otter, including a partial amputation of his fractured right hind flipper. His injuries do not allow him to groom himself effectively, which is key for an otter to regulate its body temperature.
“We are treating the sea otter with fluids, pain medication and antibiotics, and we’re hopeful that he will recover,” said Dr. Haulena. “He likely would have died as a result of his human-inflicted injuries, so we’re glad that other humans intervened and reported him, so that we can help give him a fighting chance.”