NEWS

Rescued sea otter meets new companion

11/06/2014 08:45 EST | Updated 01/06/2015 05:59 EST
Blind sea otter, 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 gun shot near Tofino, B.C. 

He was found on the beach appearing lethargic and was taken to the aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre where several shotgun pellets were removed from his head and body.

The Vancouver Aquarium says Wally was determined to be non-releasable by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and was given a new habitat at the facility and now a new friend.

Wally was recently introduced to Tanu, another sea otter, who was rescued  near Gitka, Alaska when she was just a week or two old. She was also considered non-releasable and was bottle and hand fed by aquarium staff.

The curator of marine mammals at the Vancouver Aquarium, Brian Sheehan, says 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."

Sheehan says 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."

Now he says both Wally and Tanu seem to be getting along just fine.

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