Wally had been shot and blinded when he arrived at the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre more than two years ago.
The sea otter was found in October, 2013 on a Tofino beach so badly injured from gunshot wounds, he would never be able to be released back into the wild. The aquarium and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans scooped him up from that beach on Vancouver Island only to find the he was blind, would suffer a partial amputation of a flipper and a root canal to save a canine tooth.
The public rallied to support his recovery and now, there’s an outpouring of condolences as the aquarium announced his death.
“Wally’s rescue kicked off a groundswell of support that ensured his final years at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre were happy and comfortable,” officials wrote. “Wally passed away in his sleep early on Dec. 9. He was estimated to be between 15 and 17 years old, which is quite elderly for an otter.”
Wally leaves a legacy of community support.
“In the end, this is a great story that shows us how one person could do something horrible to a wonderful animal but a whole great many could work very, very hard to do something good for him,” Dr. Martin Haulena, head veterinarian at the Vancouver Aquarium, said in a blog. “He will continue to be an inspiration for a lot of people and a terrific example of the great work our institution does every day.”
Wally loved interacting with the aquarium’s female otters.
He also easygoing, patiently allowing staff to touch and handle him for exams, which is pretty incredible for an adult male otter that had never interacted with people.
“Although Wally’s injuries were inflicted by a human,” the facility posted on Facebook, “his story shows there are others who will go above and beyond to care for animals in distress. He will continue to be an inspiration for a lot of people and a terrific example of the great work our rescue centre and animal care team does.”
Photos Vancouver Aquarium/Facebook