Sea lion rescued in Powell River after being shot with crossbow

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WatchA sea lion that had been hit with a crossbow was rescued Tuesday in Powell River.

A California sea lion hit by a crossbow was likely suffering for weeks before being rescued in Powell River on Tuesday, according to officials.

A team from Fisheries and Oceans Canada alongside Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue staff went to Powell River after receiving reports of a wounded, emaciated and lethargic sea lion hauled out on a log boom at a mill. The sea lion was then taken to the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre for treatment.

The sea lion, estimated to be 250 kilograms, has a massive puncture wound, is severely dehydrated and is underweight, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre said. The animal was not able to search for food due to a bolt stuck in its body.

“He’s likely been suffering for weeks and has been unable to forage and hunt which has worsened his condition. It’s heart-breaking to find an animal in this state; it’s unacceptable to be harming wildlife like this,” Dr. Martin Haulena, head veterinarian at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, said.

The sea lion has been nicknamed Archie as a tribute to Archie Kenmuir, the boat operator, and his team at Jepson Mobile Booming, who helped the rescue team sedate and extract the sea lion from the log booms.

“It was truly an epic rescue. There is no other way to describe it. The co-ordination and community effort to help this animal was amazing. Archie Kenmuir maneuvered the log bundle and our rescue team expertly to shore. It was an impressive sight and a silver lining to this sad story to see everyone come together to help this sea lion.” Emily Johnson, assistant manager of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, said.

The sea lion is being treated with antibiotics, fluids and pain medication for the necrotic puncture wound. The rescue centre has also noted abnormalities with his eyes, possibly indicating prior gunshot wounds. Archie will undergo further examinations at the hospital this week to determine the extent of his injuries.

Archie is the third sea lion in less than two-and-a-half years to be admitted to the rescue centre as a result of human-inflicted injuries, after Senor Cinco was rescued from Spanish Banks Beach Park May 5, 2017, and Ukee, from the west coast of Vancouver Island last October. Both were shot in the head and blinded.

Ukee was euthanized two weeks after being rescued in Ucluelet.

California sea lions are “eared seals” native to the West Coast of North America. They live in coastal waters and on beaches, docks, buoys, and jetties.

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