With both information queries and support pouring in daily for Chester, the false killer whale calf rescued off Chesterman beach in Tofino last month, we knew it was time for an update.
When Chester first arrived at the Marine Mammal Rescue Center on July 10 he was underweight, malnourished and had a number of lacerations and injuries from being battered around in the surf. With a coordinated rescue effort including staff from the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the District of Tofino bylaw enforcement, Parks Canada and officers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, he was transported back to the Rescue Centre and his around-the-clock care began.
It was touch and go for the first several weeks due to Chester’s young age and his lack of strength. He needed to be supported in a custom made sling as he was not able to swim on his own and accompanied by two Aquarium staff members in the pool with him at all times.
Today, Chester is doing remarkably better. He is swimming on his own and is displaying lots of energy. He is curious about his environment; exploring each new person who joins him in his pool and is responding to tactile touch, showing off his underside for daily belly rubs.
The veterinary team is still continuously monitoring Chester’s health and checking his respiratory rate to ensure he is free from infection. He is still being tube fed every few hours with the hope of moving him onto a fish diet in the near future as his teeth have now come in.
“We are cautiously optimistic about Chester” says Lindsaye Akhurst, manager of the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. “He is still under 24 hour care, but has shown great improvement in his condition since he was first brought to the Rescue Centre.”
We are keeping our fingers crossed for Chester as he continues to improve, growing stronger every day. Thank you to everyone who has donated to his ongoing care and the many volunteers that have helped out over this tremendously busy time at the Rescue Centre.
Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, presented by Port Metro Vancouver and supported by Teekay Shipping, is a non-profit hospital for sick, injured or orphaned marine mammals. With a cost of $400 a day to feed and care for Chester, donations are greatly appreciated.