(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

  • Nov. 24, 2017 12:30 p.m.

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

More wind storms to hit Vancouver Island, expected to taper off for Christmas Day

Another special weather statement in effect for evening of Dec. 19

Cougars hang tough for first half against Kelsey

Improvement continues, with strong leadership from Simpson, Ngenda

Little Women casts Bennett in a brilliant light

It’s a dream come true for local actress/singer to be performing on the Chemainus Theatre stage

New field house at Cowichan Sportsplex necessary, says manager

Drew Cooper hopes local governments agree

Police incident reported on Cowichan River Bridge

Traffic going across the Cowichan River Bridge at about 1 p.m. on… Continue reading

VIDEO: Ex-NASA engineer pranks mail thieves with glitter bomb trap

Package thefts are common this time of year, but YouTuber Mark Rober used his engineering skills

UBC study could spare cancer patients from side effects of radiation

Her research has drawn a connection of Chromosome 6 genes to pulmonary fibrosis susceptibility.

‘Laverne & Shirley’ star, ‘Big’ director Penny Marshall dies

Marshall died of complications from diabetes on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, at her Hollywood Hills home. She was 75.

B.C. Court of Appeal to rule in terror case that centres on RCMP conduct

B.C.’s appeal court is scheduled to release a decision today on a couple whose guilty verdict over plotting to blow up the provincial legislature was thrown out by a lower court judge.

Trump backs off on demand for $5 billion to build a border wall

Congress and President Donald Trump continue to bicker over his demand that lawmakers fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Canadian detained in China, not clear if related to two other detentions

Reports suggest the person is not a diplomat or entrepreneur doing business in China.

Trudeau sees 2019 election as choice between positive Liberals, divisive Tories

Trudeau is drawing much the same battle lines that propelled the Liberals to a come-from-behind victory in 2015

Snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla, Highway 3

Make sure to equip winter tires if travelling

Lightning top Canucks 5-2 in feisty battle

NHL’s No. 1 team too much for Vancouver

Most Read