‘Ukee’, a sea lion that was shot in Ucluelet, was euthanized at the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre on Thursday. (Photo - Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)

Sea lion found shot off Vancouver Island dies at Vancouver Aquarium

“He wasn’t responding to treatment, and his condition had taken a significant downturn.”

A sea lion that was shot in Ucluelet died yesterday at the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

The adult male Steller, named ‘Ukee’ by the centre’s staff, was discovered in Ucluelet on Oct. 10 and transported to the centre on Oct. 11. After roughly two weeks of treatment, the veterinary team made the difficult decision to euthanize the animal, according to a post on the centre’s Facebook page Friday afternoon.

READ MORE: Sea lion rescued in Ucluelet suffering from gunshot wound to the head

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

‘Ukee’ was severely underweight at around 350 kilograms—healthy male Steller sea lions can reach around 800 kilograms—when he arrived at the centre. Veterinarians found at least one bullet lodged in the animal’s skull and determined he had been blinded.

It is illegal to shoot a sea lion without a permit in Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada is investigating.

READ MORE: DFO investigating shooting of sea lion in Ucluelet

West Coast marine mammal researcher Wendy Szaniszlo told the Westerly News she was frustrated by Ukee’s death and said many people believe sea lions compete with fishers.

“Sea lions are unpopular because it is perceived that they eat a lot of fish, specifically commercially targeted fish such as salmon,” she said. “Because of that, they are seen as competition and likely some folks are maybe wanting to take it in their hands to try to limit any kind of fishery-sea lion interactions…I find it very disheartening and frustrating too.”

READ MORE: Nails endangering sea lions on Ucluelet float spark DFO investigation

She added that “there is very little information” around what sea lions specifically prey on and said her own research suggests salmon is only one small part of a sea lion’s diet.

“Salmon is a portion of their diet, but it’s not the biggest part of their diet and certainly not chinook salmon,” she said. “They are feeding on a wide variety of different types of fish as well as octopus and squid, it’s not specifically chinook salmon.”

She added that she was happy to see so many community members come to Ukee’s aide and report the distressed sea lion to the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604-258-7325 and DFO at 1-800-465-4336.

“The Vancouver Aquarium was able to rescue the animal and do what they could to help it and try to save it. It’s just unfortunate it had the outcome that it did,” she said. “To me, it warms my heart that, while there are some people out there that truly dislike sea lions and are willing to cause them harm, there are many people out there that do like them and will do what they can to help rescue and rehabilitate them as well.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: Entangled sea lion rescued near Tofino



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

City of Campbell River opens the call for food trucks downtown this summer

City will use pilot project to determine the future of food trucks in the downtown core

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Limits on chinook sport fishing to cause economic ripple effect in Campbell River

DFO says policy needed to prevent collapse of wild stocks, but concerns raised about economic impact

Clothesline Project in Campbell River is a choir of voices raised against abuse

‘It brings up a lot of emotions for people and starts the conversation about violence against women’

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

B.C. senior sentenced for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Most Read