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 2:00 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

Esquimalt speed skating week helps province determine find fastest skater

Speed Week takes place on Dec. 17 at Archie Browning arena

Goldstream church offers free festive feast

Gordon United Church says all are welcome to attend Monday’s meal

Longtime Saanich drama group brings pirates onstage for traditional Christmas pantomime

St. Luke’s Players present Treasure Island Dec. 18 to Jan. 4

Sex workers march in downtown Victoria for Red Umbrella Day

Red umbrellas became a symbol of sex workers after an art installation in Italy

MLA Adam Olsen calls for ‘substantial’ changes in provincial economy

Green Party MLA also criticizes gap between government rhetoric and actions

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Pacioretty scores 2, Golden Knights top Canucks 6-3

Vegas goalie Fleury gets win No. 452

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Most Read