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Pretzel, the sea lion found shot in the head at Kitsilano Beach, has died

She was at the centre for 35 days

After more than a month in the care of marine mammal medical specialists, the decision was made to euthanize Pretzel the sea lion.

Pretzel, a juvenile Steller sea lion, was brought in March 18 after being found at Kitsilano Beach with a gunshot wound to the head. Members of the public reported the wounded animal to Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue (MMR) team who were able to rescue the large animal off the rocks.

"Pretzel the sea lion was provided with exceptional care by the dedicated team at MMR, which included specialized attention, pain management and a variety of diagnostic tests," says the aquarium.

Among her injuries was damage to her jaw and eyes. A previous diagnosis was that she'd never see again, but was hopeful she'd recover. However, during her time with the MMR they weren't able to get Pretzel to eat.

"Despite the team’s extraordinary efforts to restore health, a humane decision was made to euthanize her on Friday, April 22," the aquarium says in a release.

On the MMR patient website messages of condolence are coming in.

"Like others I’m sure, we were cautiously optimistic that after the time that had passed, that Pretzel may pull through. It wasn’t meant to be!" writes Susan Guilbault. "What makes me angry is with the person who illegally shot Pretzel, and put her through this whole ordeal!"

MMR is able to save about 80 per cent of the animals to come into the centre and return them to their natural habitat. Many others, who are deemed "unreleasable" stay at the aquarium.

The Vancouver Aquarium urges people to call the rescue centre if they see a marine mammal in need of assistance. They can be reached at 604-258-7325. Alternatively, there's the Department of Fisheries and Oceans at 1-800-465-4336.