British Columbia

Rescued sea otter Wally meets new companion, Tanu

Walter, a sea otter blinded by a shotgun blast, is being introduced to Tanu, another rescued sea otter in long-term care.

Two rescued sea otters are getting comfortable in their new home at the Vancouver Aquarium

Blind sea otter Wally, left, meets Tanu, another rescued sea otter. (Vancouver Aquarium)

A blind sea otter named Walter, also known as Wally, has made a new friend after being introduced to another rescued sea otter at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Wally has spent about a year receiving treatment and rehabilitation after being blinded by a shotgun blast near Tofino, B.C. 

The otter was found on the beach in obvious distress in October 2013, and was taken to the aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre in Vancouver. Staff removed several shotgun pellets from Wally's head and body, and partially-amputated a hind flipper.

The Vancouver Aquarium said Wally made a good recovery but was determined to be non-releasable by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and was given a new habitat at the facility.

Brian Sheehan, curator of marine mammals at the Vancouver Aquarium, said the next step in Wally's rehabilitation was to socialize him to improve his quality of life.

"With the process of socialization, really it's for Wally's benefit. It's making things as best as possible for him. He's been through a lot."

And so, Wally was recently introduced to Tanu, another sea otter.

When Tanu met Wally

7 years ago
Duration 2:01
Two rescued, non-releasable sea otters are getting to know each other at the Vancouver Aquarium 2:01

Tanu was rescued near Gitka, Alaska, when she was just a week or two old. Tanu was bottle- and hand-fed by aquarium staff and was also determined to be non-releasable.

Sheehan said that at first, Tanu appeared cautious around the male sea otter but then that changed.

"She became more comfortable and a short while later she kind of did a jump right onto his chest and he did what we were hoping, a nice quiet reaction. There was just some touching and some rolling about."

Both Wally and Tanu seem to be getting along just fine, and staff will continue to monitor their interactions in the near future, Sheehan said.

Rescued sea otters Tanu, left, and Walter get fed together at the Vancouver Aquarium on Nov. 6, 2014. (CBC)

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