02/25/2014 09:22 EST | Updated 04/27/2014 05:59 EDT

Injured, starving sea otter fighting for his life

Vancouver Aquarium veterinarians didn't think the otter would survive the trip back from Whiffen Spit at the entrance of Sooke Harbour — but he did.

Now, he's fighting for his life at the aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

“It is still too early to tell if he will survive but we are doing everything we can to ensure he has the best chance for a successful rehabilitation for the eventual release back into local waters,” said rescue centre manager Lindsaye Ackhurst.

Sunday afternoon, teams from the Vancouver Aquarium and the BCSPCA rescued the animal, found emaciated with injuries to his hind flippers.

“He was found non-responsive on the beach and exhibiting signs of hypoglycemia. He required immediate medical intervention before we could transport him back to the Rescue Centre," said Ackhurst.

"We weren't optimistic that he would survive the trip."

Now, the otter is on 24-hour intensive care in Vancouver, being hand-fed every two hours, said Ackhurst.

“He is weak and, possibly suffering from fractures in his hind flippers, is not able to groom himself, which can be fatal for sea otters that rely on their coats for warmth.”

Once the otter is stabilized, veterinarians will take x-rays and determine what treatments are still required.

The Vancouver Aquarium is reminding the public to report any marine mammals that may be in distress by calling 604 258 SEAL (7325).