A sea otter with gunshot wounds to his head and body is struggling to survive, as a team of veterinarians from the Vancouver Aquarium desperately tries to save him.

The adult male otter was found on the shoreline in Tofino, B.C., in obvious distress and with significant injuries to his flippers, and was delivered to the aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre on Oct. 18 in critical condition.

"He's in extremely rough shape and I'm very concerned about him. X-rays show that he has been shot with a shotgun and there are pellets in his face and body," said Martin Haulena, a veterinarian with the Vancouver Aquarium.

"Due to the gunshot wounds, he is currently blind and one of his flippers sustained a serious injury."

The surgical team have performed multiple procedures on the otter, including a partial amputation of his right hind flipper, which was severely injured when he arrived.


A team at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre is treating an adult male otter found with gunshot wounds to the head and body. (Vancouver Aquarium)

“We are treating the sea otter with fluids, pain medication and antibiotics, and we’re hopeful that he will recover,” said 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.”

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).