Last summer a baby false killer whale was found on Chesterman Beach. Too young to swim, and with no mother in sight, the odds looked grim. Thanks to the efforts of the team at Vancouver Aquarium, “Chester’s” story has a happy ending.
“Chester was washed up on a beach on Vancouver Island and was sited by a locals who phoned our rescue hotline (604-258-SEAL). He was very young, approximately one month old, had no teeth, so would have still been nursing from his mother and was unable to swim. He would not have survived on his own in the ocean as he could not feed himself, let alone support his own weight” Says Paula Lash who is a marine mammal trainer and has worked closely with Chester.
After an amazing job by the marine mammal rescue staff, Chester is now celebrating his first birthday.
Described as a “loveable goof ball who loves humans” – Chester seems happy and healthy. The staff at the Vancouver Aquarium are very protective of their little charge. They’re slowly getting Chester used to his new habitat and to the crowds of people that come to visit him everyday. He seems as curious about us as we are about him.
“The biggest milestones Chester has gone though in his short time with us have been his successful transfer into our Wild Coast habitat, his meeting and socializing with Helen our Pacific white-sided dolphin” – says Paula. “My personal biggest milestone with Chester was the completion of training his voluntary blood collection behavior, which is vital in our assessment of his health on a regular basis”.
So what does the future hold for Chester? “Chester will continue with his husbandry training, as health care for our animals is our number one priority. We hope to continue to see a relationship develop between him and Helen. We also hope that what we have learned from his rehabilitation can be applied to other marine mammal rescues” – Says Paula.
Happy birthday Chester.
To learn more about the Vancouver Aquarium or Chester, follow @VanAqua on Twitter.