The Vancouver Aquarium said goodbye to a beloved resident this morning as Walter the sea otter passed away in his sleep.
Walter first came to the Aquarium in 2013, after he was found injured on a Tofino coastline. Vancouver Aquarium veterinarians would come to find that Walter was suffering from multiple injuries due to a gunshot, including blindness. After several procedures, including partial amputation of a flipper, and a root canal to save a canine tooth, Walter began his residency.
Over the next two years the laid back sea mammal would become a much-loved member of the Vancouver Aquarium family, with doting tourists and staff alike. Though his time at the Vancouver Aquarium was relatively short, staff are happy they were able to give Walter a life he wouldn’t have gotten to enjoy otherwise.
“Our marine mammal biologists did a terrific job making his last few years pain-free and happy,” said Dr. Martin Haulena, head veterinarian at Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre in a press release. “He was introduced to and interacted with our female otters on a regular basis and even allowed our staff to touch him for exams, which is amazing for an adult male otter that had never interacted with people before.”
This past Spring, Walter began having trouble grooming himself, and showing other signs of his advanced age. Staff schedules were changed to increase his care, and though Walter was acting normally on Tuesday, on Wednesday morning he passed away.
“The last two years of Walter’s life were exceptional thanks to an incredible effort by our team,” said Haulena. “Although his injuries were inflicted by a human, Wally’s 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 institution does every day. I’m very proud.”