Blinded otter finds home at aquarium
Walter, a rescued sea otter that was blinded by a shotgun blast at his new home at the Vancouver Aquarium in Vancouver, B.C. on Tuesday January 7, 2014. After months of intense treatment and rehabilitation, Walter, the sea otter blinded by a shotgun blast near Tofino, B.C., is transferred to the Vancouver Aquarium for long-term care after being deemed non-releasable by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Carmine Marinelli/Vancouver 24hours/QMI Agency
Permanently blinded by a shotgun blast, a sea otter named Walter was released into its new home at the Vancouver Aquarium Tuesday.
The otter was found on a shoreline near Tofino on Vancouver Island and brought to the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre in mid-October. The otter was treated for 11 weeks by veterinary staff.
Dr. Martin Haulena of the aquarium said a number of pellets were removed from Walter’s body.
“Despite being in grave condition when we rescued him, Walter has responded very well to the critical care he has received at the rescue centre over the past three months,” Haulena said in a news release.
Walter was deemed not releasable by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and joined three other rescued sea otters at the aquarium.
“Although we successfully rehabilitate and release nearly a hundred animals each year, Walter needs to remain in human care, since he can no longer fend for himself in the wild,” said Haulena. “We’re able to provide a safe, comfortable home for him at the Vancouver Aquarium where he will receive the long-term care he needs.”
The otter will now begin long-term treatment.
The aquarium said sea otters were wiped out in the province nearly 100 years ago due to the fur trade, but since 89 were brought to the province from Alaska in the late 60s their population has expanded.