The Vancouver Aquarium says preliminary results from a necropsy show a false killer whale, named Chester, died at the facility last Friday Nov. 24, from a bacterial infection.
Chester was brought to the aquarium when he was a calf just a few weeks old, after being found stranded on a Tofino beach on a Vancouver Island beach in July 2014.
Vanderhoof resident, a 12 year old boy, Lucas Nielsen, became known for his remarkable friendship with Chester when he would travel down to Vancouver for his own medical treatment.
Here follows a statement from Lukas’ mother, Claire Nielsen:
“It is with incredible sadness that my son Lucas and I share the news of Chester’s sudden passing today. He was the sweetheart of Vancouver Aquarium. We knew him and loved him. My heart goes out to all of those who have been touched by him especially everyone at the Vancouver Aquarium and Marine Mammal Rescue (MMR) org. Please understand the level of dedication and love that everyone at the Vancouver Aquarium and MMR have, and keep your comments positive and supportive. Through getting to know Chester and all his team, we have become such better citizens, making much more conscious choices that affect our fragile environment, especially our oceans. Please remember that the Vancouver Aquarium is not a theme park. They are a Marine Science Centre that funds research, rescue, education and raise public awareness about the needs of the fragile environment and it’s (non-human) inhabitants. They are an amazing organization and I hate to see them attacked especially when they are in such grief over losing such a beautiful cherished animal. Please read Chester’s and Lucas’s story in [the Facebook page] blog and honour this amazing creature by being more in touch with nature. We are collecting signatures for a card to send to the Vancouver Aquarium together with a painting of Chester. Thank you.”