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Update: Sea lion rescued on Kits Beach likely blinded after being shot in head

She was in bad shape.

A young female sea lion is currently being cared for by the folks at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre after being shot in the head.

The young seal, now dubbed Pretzel, was called to rocks west of the Kitsilano Pool near the yacht club where the young sea lion was spotted in poor condition. Rescuers from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre responded to the call and were able to transport the large animal off the rocks in a blanket before taking her to their facility.

"Typically, this species of sea lion ar​e in a group with others but this one was alone," says spokesperson Todd Hauptman in a press release.

She was taken to the rescue centre to be stabilized where she remains.

"Pretzel remains in critical condition with a guarded prognosis," says Hauptman in an email. "She had a CT scan (April 6) that showed her brain was not directly affected by her injury."

However, Pretzel may have other permanent damage from the assault.

"Both eyes are severely damaged, and she will likely be unable to see again," Hauptman adds. "Some of the muscles and bones that are responsible for chewing have been damaged."

Canada West Veterinary Specialist's Diagnostic imaging team helped with the scans so that staff could better understand the damage.

Staff with Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre say there's been an uptick in marine mammal shootings lately.

"If you see a marine mammal that you believe is in need of assistance, resist the urge to intervene," Hauptman adds. "Please stay back and encourage others as well as pets to do the same. Please call Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604-258-7325 or Department of Fisheries and Oceans at 1-800-465-4336."

- with files from Alanna Kelly

- This story was updated with new information April 11, 2022.

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