NEWS
05/13/2014 02:17 EDT | Updated 07/13/2014 05:59 EDT

Whiffen, sea otter rescued by Vancouver Aquarium, dies

A sea otter rescued from a spit of land near Sooke, B.C., in February has died.

Named Whiffen, after the spot where he was discovered, the eight-year-old sea otter was emaciated and hypoglycemic with high liver enzymes, a damaged gastrointestinal track and wounded hind leg. He was transferred to the Vancouver Aquarium for treatment and rehabilitation.

Whiffen died on Saturday while undergoing an MRI, Vancouver Aquarium said Tuesday in a statement.

"The scan was intended to discover why the sea otter was still not gaining weight, had progressive muscle loss, head tremors, weakness, and was not getting better," the statement reads.

"It was also to determine the best course of action and humane options in Whiffen’s best interests."

In February, the cost of caring for Whiffen was estimated to be around $300,000. But the aquarium says the money and time spent saving sea mammals like Whiffen is well worth the educational and research opportunities gained in the process.

It is also important for conservation, since there are only about 5,000 sea otters in B.C.

"It's a very, sort of, animal welfare driven demand. People want to do something for an animal that they see suffering, for whatever the cost," aquarium veterinarian Dr.  Martin Haulena.said at the time.