July 24, 2014 11:43 am
Updated: July 24, 2014 11:53 am

False killer whale calf shows signs of improvement

Courtesy: Vancouver Aquarium

Baby false killer whale that was rescued earlier this month in Tofino is showing signs of improvement.

The calf was in critical condition after arriving at the Vancouver Aquarium on July 11.

The day before, he was spotted on North Chesterman beach, just outside of Tofino, in visible distress and poor health.

After weeks in the care of veterinarians at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, the calf has begun to nurse from a bottle, which means he can be fed more regularly and with less handling than by tube feeding alone.

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Head veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena says suckling is a great sign of improvement.

The calf has been slowly increasing his strength, buoyancy and coordination.

Upon arriving at the aquarium, he had several lacerations and wounds along his body, likely from stranding and getting caught up on the rocks.

The calf could not swim on his own, so veterinarians had to use a specially designed floating sling to support his weight.

Caring for a false killer whale is a new experience for the Vancouver Aquarium.

False killer whales are seldom seen along the B.C coast and are not related to the well-known killer whale, or orca, species.

It is an open ocean species found in the tropics in all oceans of the world.

PHOTO GALLERY: False killer whale calf on the road to recovery

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