Chester, the false killer whale rescued by the Vancouver Aquarium off a Vancouver Island beach three years ago, has died at the facility.
The aquarium says in a statement that Chester’s behaviour changed Wednesday and despite intensive veterinary care, he died this morning.
Chester is the first stranded false killer whale calf to have survived in Canada.
Chester was estimated to be just weeks old when he was found on Chesterman’s Beach near Tofino in July 2014 and the aquarium says he remained a “health-challenged animal” throughout his life.
In May of 2015, Fisheries and Oceans Canada deemed Chester non-releasable and asked the Vancouver Aquarium to provide a long-term home for him.
Veterinarian Martin Haulena says stranded animals can have renal problems later on in life, but he’s waiting for the results of a post-mortem exam to determine Chester’s cause of death.
False killer whales are members of the dolphin family and the aquarium says little is known about the species.
The aquarium now has just one cetacean, 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.
With files from the Canadian Press