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Video: Sea otter blinded by gunshot wounds makes slow recovery

Walter, the sea otter who was found near Tofino with severe shot gun wounds, munches enthusiastically on clams at the Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. Vancouver Aquarium

A sea otter found in Tofino last month with severe gunshot wounds underwent surgery Friday. While officials at the Vancouver Aquarium say he is slowly improving, he still faces serious challenges.

“Walter” the otter was taken to the aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre six weeks ago with more than a dozen shot wounds to his face and body, leaving him blind and unable to clean himself.

Veterinarians worked around the clock to save Walter and although his condition is still serious, he is slowly improving and has regained a healthy appetite for clams, shrimp and other seafood.

WATCH: Rescued sea otter munches his clams

The Vancouver Aquarium says all sea otters use their sense of touch to gather food, but this has become especially important for Walter since losing his sight.

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Since sea otters need to eat up to 30 per cent of their body weight in food every day just to keep warm, Walter’s penchant for delicacies of the sea is helping his rehabilitation.

Dr. Martin Haulena says his latest surgery should make him even more comfortable.

“Walter is stable and improving slowly. He had oral surgery this morning to deal with several teeth that were badly damaged by the pellets. A visiting veterinarian removed two incisors, and performed some other dental procedures. He should be much more comfortable now,” he says.

Donations made to the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre provides necessary medical care for rescued animals and allows for their release following rehabilitation.

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