Skip to main content

Happy Birthday, Little Buddy!


Recently, the Vancouver Aquarium had a very special “birthday” celebration that many thought unlikely.

Chester, a false killer whale, was rescued July 10, 2014 from Chesterman Beach (Tofino).  With unerupted teeth, his age was estimated at one month, making June 10 his guesstimated “birthday”. But just surviving that first day was by no means guaranteed.

Separated from his mother, badly battered by the surf, emaciated and near death. His prognosis was grim.

Vancouver Aquarium (VA) sprang into action to help this creature rarely seen in BC waters. VA’s veterinarian, Dr. Martin Haulena devised a unique rehab plan.

And after thousands of volunteer hours, around-the-clock care, specialized medical treatments and heaping doses of TLC, Chester not only survived, he thrived.

And with his recent birthday celebrations, Chester remains the longest living false killer whale in captivity.

Dr. Haulena is immensely pleased with Chester’s outcome.

“He loves his life. Hugely interactive with our visitors, he bumps toys, he shares toys with Helen [a rescued Pacific white-sided dolphin pool mate]. He chases Helen. Helen chases him. He’s a little kid, right? So you know, it’s why we do what we do, and to see that actually happen is a terrific thing.”

Check out “Rescuing Chester” in the 2016 issue of Pacific Rim Magazine for pictures of his rescue and recovery!