Pretzel, the three-year-old female sea lion shot and left to die on beach

Pretzel, the three-year-old female sea lion shot and left to die on beach

After taking in a malnourished sea lion with a gunshot wound last week, the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre has had an anxious few days.

The three-year-old female sea lion, now named Pretzel, was discovered struggling on Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver on Friday.

According to an email from the Vancouver Aquarium, the sea lion is still in serious condition.

“The staff is still concentrating on stabilizing her, and we plan to run more diagnostics on Wednesday,” said Todd Hauptman, communication manager.

“We’re still trying to save one of her eyes, but a lot relies on how things go in the coming days.”

A rescue team was sent in to retrieve the injured animal after receiving a call from a concerned bystander on Friday.

The head veterinarian and director of animal health at the Vancouver Aquarium said at the time that initial x-rays showed that she had been shot.

“A wound like that doesn’t instantly kill an animal,” said Dr. Martin Haulena. “It maims an animal like this, and she’s probably been suffering for some days or weeks already.”

Haulena added that he thinks the animal’s vision may be lost permanently as a result of the injury.

When asked why someone would shoot a sea lion, Haulena said it’s unfortunate, but not uncommon.

“It’s really hard to tell (why the animal was shot),” he said. “Obviously, we don’t know who shot this sea lion. Some people just like shooting animals for no reason. I suppose some folks probably think sea lions are competition for fish or resources.”

“It is tragic that this happens to helpless animals,” Hauptman added.

Anyone who encounters a marine mammal in distress is asked to contact the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604-258-7325 or Fisheries and Oceans Canada at 800-465-4336.

This article by Meagan Gill was first published by CTV News Vancouver on 22 March 2022. Lead Image: An injured sea lion was found on Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver on Friday. (Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre).

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