(Ukee the sea lion -Photo by Vancouver Aquarium/Facebook)

After almost two weeks of critical care, Ukee, the sea lion found with a bullet lodged in his skull near Vancouver Island, has been euthanized.

According to a Facebook post from the Vancouver Aquarium, the decision to humanely euthanize the sea lion was made on Thursday, October 25th.

“He wasn’t responding to treatment, and his condition had taken a significant downturn in the last two days,” said Dr. Martin Haulena, head veterinarian at the Vancouver Aquarium.

“At this point we had to evaluate his quality of life. Although we are disappointed we couldn’t return him to full health, we are glad we could end his suffering and make his final days more comfortable. I am so proud of the team for the incredible care they gave him.”


The male adult Steller sea lion named ‘Ukee’ was admitted to the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre on October 11th, after which he was unresponsive for almost 24 hours.

Upon closer examination, it was determined that he had been shot in the head and there was at least one bullet lodged in his skull. The veterinary team determined that he was blind because of his injuries, and had likely been suffering for several weeks before being rescued.

Ukee was about 8-10 years old, weighing between 300-350 kg, and is the largest sea lion ever admitted to the Rescue Centre.

After first being discovered by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, it took a super-sized team of seven rescue centre personnel, local volunteers, a truck and crane from local company Windsor Plywood, and a cargo van to rescue him.