(Vancouver Aquarium)

False killer whale ‘Chester’ dies at Vancouver Aquarium

He was found stranded near Tofino in July 2014 and only had a 10 per cent chance of making it at the time

The Vancouver Aquarium has announced today that Chester, the ‘false killer whale’ rescued near Tofino three years ago has died.

The large mammal had less than a 10 per cent chance of making it when he was first discovered stranded on Chesterman Beach in July 2014. Not only did Chester live through his transport to the aquarium, but also became a beloved member of their aquatic family, according to a press release from B.C.’s largest marine museum.

Read More: Rescued whale clings to live, shows signs of progress

“Spending these past three and half years with Chester has had a profound impact on the entire Vancouver Aquarium family, from employees and volunteers, to our members and visitors,” said Brian Sheehan, Vancouver Aquarium curator of marine mammals. “Chester connected with more than four million people during his time with us, sharing his joy and curiosity with every person he encountered. We’ve been incredibly lucky to love him and to learn from him.”

Officials say his health had been compromised since first arriving and he continued to be a “health-challenged animal” during the rehabilitation process, despite looking well earlier in the week.

That had all changed by Wednesday afternoon however, when Chester’s behaviour is said to have changed. He was put into the aquarium’s intensive care unit Wednesday and Thursday and passed away early Friday morning.

“We know that stranded animals, possibly because of injuries sustained during stranding, do have incidences of renal failure later on. That is something we’ll be looking at during the necropsy,” said head veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena, who hopes to learn more today during the post-mortem exam.

Read More: Whale’s best friend thanks rescue team in Tofino

The Vancouver Aquarium says very little is known about false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens).

Despite having “whale” in their name, the species is actually part of the dolphin family.

Chester was estimated to have been about one month old when he was found on Chesterman Beach, in extremely poor condition with several lacerations and wounds along his body.

He was transferred to the rescue centre where he received more than 10,000 hours of veterinary treatment, rehabilitation and care, and became the first false killer whale calf to survive stranding in Canada.

The aquarium says due to his young age, Chester’s lack of life skills would have put him at a disadvantage in the wild — he did not know how to forage on his own or protect himself from predators and other possible dangers.

In May of 2015, Fisheries and Oceans Canada deemed him non-releasable and asked the Vancouver Aquarium to provide a long-term home for him.

This means the aquarium now has just one cetacean in captivity, a Pacific white-side dolphin, and the Vancouver Park Board has passed a bylaw banning the facility from keeping any new whales, dolphins or porpoises.

Just Posted

Victoria City Council approves inclusionary housing policy

After years of back and forth, the policy will be ratified in two weeks

Filipino Heritage Month event takes over Centennial Square

Dancing, music and food highlight Mabuhay Day celebration in Victoria

West Shore residents report finding anti-SOGI 123 flyers in mailboxes

SD62 trustee Ravi Parmar says the flyers are ‘garbage’

Saanich woman runs marathons to make dreams come true

Hempler gutted her way through 122 kms with minimal breaks, to support Help Fill a Dream Foundation

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Homalco tour gives glimpse into area’s ‘People, Land, Water’

First Nation business mixes cultural components with wildlife excursions

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read