VANCOUVER -- Things didn't look good for Archie when he was first found.

The California sea lion had what members of the Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre described as "gruesome" and "horrific" injuries.

He'd been shot with a crossbow, and had multiple gunshot wounds.

He was found on a log boom at a mill in Powell River, B.C. He was emaciated, dehydrated and lethargic.

Calling his case "heartbreaking," the rescue centre's head veterinarian estimated Archie – named after a boat operator who aided in the sea lion's rescue – hadn't eaten in a week.

The rescue was challenging, but several people came together to help and Archie was brought to shore.

He was taken to Vancouver for treatment, and it was discovered his crossbow wound was necrotic. The rescue centre described it as being massive.

Sea lion rescued in Powell River

Those working with Archie later noticed he had abnormalities with his eyes. He'd been shot in the face, they said.

"He had been suffering for a long time," said head veterinarian Martin Haulena.

But a veterinary ophthalmologist performed surgery on the large mammal, and his vision improved. With rehabilitation and medical treatment, his overall health improved, too.

And this week, Archie got to go home.

In what his rescuers called a "happy and emotional send off," the sea lion was released near Crescent Beach.

"We're really pleased to see a happy ending for Archie. Many animals are not so fortunate," Haulena said.

Archie was sent off with a tracking device, and an online map shows he's been spending his time off the coast of Blaine, Wash.