Whiffen the rescued otter dies during procedure

Whiffen the sea otter at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. Vancouver, B.C. on...

Whiffen the sea otter at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. Vancouver, B.C. on Tuesday, March 4th, 2014. (Jason Lang /QMI Agency)

David P. Ball, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:47 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Aquarium's rescued otter Whiffen died on Saturday an hour into a medical procedure.

A rehabilitation team from the aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre plucked the emaciated sea otter from a beach near Sooke, B.C., on Feb. 23. It was suffering from seizures and a badly wounded flipper.

But despite efforts to stabilize Whiffen's health since the rescue, the otter wasn't gaining weight and developed head tremors, potentially caused by a parasite known as toxoplasma.

Veterinarians put the otter under an anesthetic for an MRI on Saturday to investigate their suspicions — but Whiffen never came out.

“He's been under quite intensive care for a long time, but unfortunately he kind of reached a plateau and was there for quite some time,” the aquarium's head veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena told QMI Agency. “To be honest, I was sort of surprised he even made it into the facility.


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