Updated: Fri, 10 Aug 2012 16:06:11 GMT | By The Canadian Press, thecanadianpress.com

Quin the rescued sea otter dies in Vancouver



Quin the rescued sea otter dies in Vancouver

An injured male sea otter believed to be more than 10 years old, rests at the Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday August 3, 2012. The Vancouver Aquarium says an injured sea otter that was rescued from a Washington state beach has died. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER - A sea otter that was found severely injured on a Washington state beach before it was transferred to the Vancouver Aquarium for care has died.

The otter was found July 9 lying on a beach in the Quinault Indian Nation, near Seattle. Its flippers were damaged and infected, and the animal was critically malnourished, though it's not clear what caused those injuries.

After several weeks of care at a zoo in nearby Tacoma, the animal was transferred to the Vancouver Aquarium. Washington state does not have a marine mammal rehabilitation facility.

The otter, which was named Quin after the Quinault Indian Nation, died after more than a week of round-the-clock care, the aquarium said in a news release Friday.

The facility said the animal likely died of liver failure, an enlarged heart and water on the brain.

"We knew that the risks were high when the sea otter was rescued in poor body condition, including several significant injuries and obvious metabolic compromise,” Dr. Martin Haulena, the aquarium's staff veterinarian, said in a news release.

"Despite a steady decrease in appetite and condition, we had hoped that he would regain his strength. He received the very best medical care available to him from a team of clinicians across the Pacific Northwest, but was unable to recover."

A veterinarian with the provincial health minister and a wildlife expert from the United States conducted a necropsy on the animal. They found fluid in the otter's chest and abdominal cavity, an enlarged liver with evidence of liver failure, an enlarged heart and cerebral edema.

Further tests are currently underway to study sea otter history and to improve disease screening.

The aquarium said the tests will be used to identify health risks to the sea otter population.

Once common across the Pacific Rim from northern Japan to Baja, Calif., sea otters were hunted to near extinction during the fur trade. They are listed as a species of special concern in Canada.

Last year, the Vancouver Aquarium’s marine mammal rescue centre rescued more than 150 stranded marine mammals. The facility encourages members of the public to report stranded or injured marine animals

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