The Vancouver Aquarium says a Californian sea lion rescued at Spanish Banks was shot in the face, most likely someone wielding a small calibre gun.
The Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue received a call about the adult male sea lion on Friday, May 5.
“He was emaciated, lethargic and not responsive to activity around him on the busy public beach,” said the Vancouver Aquarium in a release.
Rescuers took the sea lion back to the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, where he was named Señor Cinco due to being found on Cinco de Mayo.
Four days later, Señor Cinco got a full exam under general anesthetic.
Dr. Martin Haulena, head veterinarian at the Aquarium and director of the Rescue Centre, explains what they found.
“The diagnosis was grim: he was shot at least twice in the face, with bullets shattering his teeth, blinding him in one eye, and possibly hitting his optic nerve,” said Haulena.
“The injuries were not new and he’s underweight, which means Señor Cinco has likely been in distress for weeks.”
The rescue centre is still not sure when Señor Cinco will be released from long-term care, but the final decision will be made by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.