WATCH: Sea lion recovering at Vancouver Aquarium after he was found at Spanish Banks. An exam reveals he was shot twice in the face. Isabelle Raghem reports.
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Rescue Centre says the sea lion was discovered unresponsive on the beach at Spanish Banks last Friday afternoon.
The team named him Señor Cinco, since his rescue occurred on May 5 ? Cinco de Mayo.
An exam conducted by the veterinary team reveals hen was shot twice in its face, causing his teeth to shatter and blinding him in one eye.
The injuries were not new and he?s underweight, which means Señor Cinco has likely been in distress for weeks, says Dr. Martin Haulena, head veterinarian at the Vancouver Aquarium and director of the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.
?The injuries he sustained at the hands of humans left him in pain and unable to forage on his own. We?re happy we can ease his suffering, but he has a long road to recovery ahead,? said Dr. Haulena.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is investigating who may have shot him but the Centre says not knowing when or where he was shot means the person, or people responsible may never be caught.
“We do know there are sometimes conflicts with fishing operations with sea lions, some people have permits to shoot animals,” says Dr. Haulena, “it’s another reminder that some folks don’t care about animals as much as others.”
While he’s doing much better, lead vet Dr. Haulena says he’s got a long way to go.
“He’s becoming more active, more alert which is nice to see. I am worried his blindness is permanent though.”
If remains blind in one eye, experts say he’ll have a hard time surviving in the wild.
Only time will tell if Señor Cinco will be able to one day return to life in the ocean.