(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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley residents can help mark World Alzheimer’s Month

Two-part online discussion series called “Demystifying advocacy” on Sept. 28 and 29

Island Corridor launches survey to determine importance of Vancouver Island rail line

“ICF remains 100 per cent committed to the restoration of full rail service on Vancouver Island”

Who’s running in Cowichan?

A list of Cowichan candidates for the upcoming provincial election

Cowichan Aquatic Centre will reopen on Oct. 13

But facility will only be open on a limited basis for time being

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Island RCMP remind drivers not to text after 19 tickets handed out in 90 minutes

The $368 fines were handed out Tuesday on Norwell Drive and Old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Three years for serial bank robber who hit southern Vancouver Island branch

Lucas Bradwell was wanted for robberies in Abbotsford, Sidney and Vancouver

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

B.C. Green leader says NDP abandoning environmental plan

Horgan’s claim of unstable government false, Furstenau says

Most Read