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 6:00 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

Parksville Beach Festival Society launches campaign for outdoor stage

Public invited to event May 25 to help with kickoff

Crime Report: Oceanside RCMP receive 328 complaints in one-week span

Vandalism and theft of a wheelchair among listed incidents

Controversial cell tower proposal in Coombs clears another hurdle

Committee indicates Rogers satisfactorily completed requirements

Parksville advocate to discuss harm-reduction measures for addicts

Morris, along with a panel of professionals, will be at the PCC on May 21

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

RCMP arrest violent offender on Vancouver Island

Campbell River police struggle with suspect and take him down with a taser

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

Most Read