Over a month in its care, BC’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre (MMRC) says a maimed Steller sea lion has passed away following gunshot wounds to the head.
The MMRC says “Pretzel” succumbed to her injuries last Friday—35 days after admission to the centre in Vancouver. According to staff, she was found along the city’s Kitsilano Beach on March 18th.
The centre says a resident first spotted Pretzel suffering on nearby rocks and, upon medical examination, it was discovered that her wounds had left her at least partially blind.
Since the incident and Pretzel’s death, her “guestbook” on the MMRC website has seen a flood of community support.
“Like others, I’m sure, we were cautiously optimistic that after the time that had passed, that Pretzel may pull through…” wrote one person, devastated by her passing.
“What makes me angry is with the person who illegally shot Pretzel and put her through this whole ordeal. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last time.”
Earlier this year on Vancouver Island, a Steller sea lion named “Sea Lionel Ritchie” was brought into the MMRC’s care after being found very skinny and lethargic on Island View Beach in Saanichton.
“After the animal was observed for another day, Fisheries and Oceans Canada authorized a rescue attempt, and the rescue centre team responded quickly,” the MMRC said.
Sea Lionel Ritchie was admitted on February 5th, but despite diagnostics and medical care, he was found dead five days later.
At the time, the centre thanked the first responder who transported him to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, as well as the DFO and BC Ferries.
“Thank you to everyone at MMRC and those who rescued him,” wrote one local. “Thank you for giving him a chance,” added another.