The otter, named Walter, had been hit by pellets throughout his body, the Province reported. When he was discovered Oct. 18 on a beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island, he also had a broken flipper and teeth broken by the impact of the blast.
Walter spent 11 weeks in the aquarium's marine mammal rescue center before being transferred to a habitat where the public can watch him splashing. A veterinary dentist performed a root canal, saving one of Walter's damaged teeth, and extracted others.
"You have to understand, when this guy arrived, it was pretty hard to see him. He was in really, really poor shape -- super-skinny, he could hardly move at all," said Martin Haulena, the aquarium's head veterinarian. "I thought there was a good chance he wasn't going to survive the first few days."
Brian Sheehan, the head curator of marine mammals, said it was clear when Walter was found he could not be released back into the wild. In fact, officials are unsure if he could eventually be grouped with the aquarium's other sea otters or will have to live out his days in a solo habitat.