An older sea lion is in the care of biologists after he was found earlier this week in Powell River suffering from gruesome injuries from a crossbow.
The California sea lion, weighing an estimated 250 kg or 550 lbs, was spotted with a massive puncture wound on a log boom on Tuesday by local mill workers, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre said in a news release.
The workers, including boat operator Archie Kenmuir, were helped sedate the animal and pull him to safety in what the marine centre’s assistant manager, Emily Johnson, called “an epic rescue.”
“The coordination and community effort to help this animal was amazing,” she said. “Archie Kenmuir maneuvered the log bundle and our rescue team expertly to shore. It was an impressive sight and a silver lining to this sad story to see everyone come together.”
Dr. Martin Haulena, head veterinarian at the centre, suspects the sea lion had been suffering for weeks and may have been hit in the eye by gunshots. The massive puncture wound hindered his ability to hunt, causing him to become severely emaciated and dehydrated.
“It’s heart-breaking to find an animal in this state; it’s unacceptable to be harming wildlife like this,” he said.
The sea lion, now nicknamed Archie, is being treated with antibiotics, fluids and pain medication.
It’s the third sea lion to be brought into the rescue centre with human-inflicted injuries since 2017.
Officials are reminding the public to stay back that when they see a marine mammal in distress, to keep other people and pets away, and call the rescue centre at 604-258-7325 or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans hotline at 1-800-465-4336.