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

Sooke passes budget with 7.17% tax increase

Six positions added to municipal ranks

Royal B.C. Museum faces space, seismic standards and accessibilty issues; calls for public input

People can share their ideas online and in person from April 1 to June 27

British Columbians are paying more for booze but also broccoli

Victoria’s inflation was 2.3 per cent, a tick above Vancouver’s of 2.2 per cent

Saanich to recognize Coun. Judy Brownoff for a quarter century on council

Award presentation will take place Monday evening

The good, bad and the unknown of Apple’s new services

The announcements lacked some key details, such as pricing of the TV service

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

SPCA seizes 54 animals from Vernon property

Animals weren’t receiving adequate care

Morneau unveils principles for Indigenous ownership in Trans Mountain pipeline

The controversial pipeline was bought by Ottawa last year

Refugee who sheltered Edward Snowden in Hong Kong arrives in Canada

Vanessa Rodel and her seven-year-old daughter Keana arrived in Toronto this week

New UMSCA trade deal getting a boost from Trump, business groups

The trade deal is designed to supplant the North American Free Trade Agreement

Trudeau says he, Wilson-Raybould had cordial conversation last week

Trudeau denies anything improper occurred regarding SNC-Lavalin and the PMO

SNC-Lavalin backtracks on CEO’s comments surrounding potential job losses

Top boss had said protecting 9,000 jobs should grant leniency

Vancouver Island home to B.C.’s luckiest lotto store

Five million-dollar winners have bought tickets from same Port Alberni corner store

Most Read