Members of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre work together to rescue a young false killer whale from a beach near Tofino

False killer whale calf making progress

Rescued false killer whale calf passes first hurdle in long-odds battle

  • Jul. 24, 2014 3:00 p.m.

By The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – A critically ill false killer whale calf rescued off a beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island has overcome one of its most life-threatening challenges.

Staff at the Vancouver Aquarium say the little creature is now nursing from a bottle as it receives round-the-clock care at the aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre on Vancouver’s waterfront.

The bottle was designed by University of British Columbia PhD student Amelia MacRae, who did research for her master’s degree with the aquarium, studying diet and feeding levels of marine mammals.

Clint Wright, the aquarium’s senior vice-president, used his experience with cetaceans to coax the male calf to nurse.

The whale was estimated at barely six weeks old when it was found near Tofino on July 10, and still requires some feeding by tube.

Veterinarians hope it will continue to improve its bottle-feeding techniques so the tube feeding can be stopped.

They say the calf is also slowly building its strength, buoyancy and co-ordination but remains in a flotation sling in a shallow pool, with staff constantly walking it in circles through the water.

False killer whales are actually members of the dolphin family and are rarely seen in B.C.’s coastal waters, preferring the open ocean off the West Coast.

The calf was near death when it was found, with respiratory problems, lacerations and wounds from being tossed onto the sand and lying on the beach for several hours.

Just Posted

Sixty Sooke homes needed to host Japanese students

Homestay program offers visitors a taste of life in Canada

Car drives into Vic West TD Canada Trust building

No one was injured, building damaged

Cans and bottles destined for Cops for Cancer fundraiser stolen from Sooke RCMP Detachment

Cans and bottles collected to raise funds for Canadian Cancer Society

Our Place Society would like to see modular housing in Saanich Peninsula communities

Don Evans, executive director, said he would like to see modular housing in every CRD municipality

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

One-in-five British Columbians think they’ll win big while gambling: study

Roughly 58 per cent of British Columbians bought at least one lottery ticket in past year

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Singh campaigns in Toronto, May in Winnipeg, as Liberal and Tory leaders pause

All parties expected to be back on the campaign trail Sunday

Most Read