Vancouver Aquarium rescues injured adult male sea otter ‘Corky’

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The Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, receiving tip from several observers, have rescued an injured adult male sea otter from the ocean near Tofino.

According to reports the Aquarium received, the male otter was floating high in the water, appeared to be bloated and wasn’t able to dive. Soon after it received the calls, the Rescue Centre team together with officers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada carefully netted the sea otter just south of Vargas Island on Thursday, and transported him back to the Rescue Centre in Vancouver.

The rescued otter, now named Corky, had extensive subcutaneous emphysema, or air trapped in the layer under his skin, the Aquarium revealed. Dr. Martin Haulena, head veterinarian at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, added that the otter suffered from a fractured rib because of a blunt force trauma caused by a possible boat strike. This also caused one of the lungs to collapse.

Haulena added that the trapped air is actually a sign of healing, but because of the excess air, it wasn’t able to dive or forage and if it wouldn’t have been rescued, it would have starved.

As of now Corky is under monitoring and receiving regular meals and pain management. Haulena added that they are also not ruling out the possibility of algal toxicity or an encephalitis which may have made him prone to being hit by something.

“We are doing everything we can to ensure he has the best chance for a successful rehabilitation for the eventual release back into local waters.”

As with all marine mammals saved by the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, any eventual decision about Corky’s release will be made by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.