June 26, 2015 6:44 pm
Updated: June 26, 2015 8:19 pm

Chester the false killer whale introduced to a new friend


WATCH: Chester the false killer whale meets Helen the Pacific white-sided dolphin

Chester meet Helen. Helen this is Chester.

Earlier today, Chester the false killer whale met Helen, a Pacific white-sided dolphin in the Wild Coast habitat. Chester has been getting long-term care at the Vancouver Aquarium after being found in distress on Vancouver Island last summer.

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READ MORE: Chester the false killer whale to remain in care of Vancouver Aquarium

The two, according to the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, are hitting it off and “curiously exploring their surroundings.” Both Chester and Helen are showing healthy behaviours, including feeding and exploring, and the team is happy with their integration so far.

Chester was only a calf when he was rescued on July 10, 2014 on North Chesterman Beach, where he was found in critical condition with several lacerations and wounds on his body. Since he was stranded as a baby, and still wholly dependent on his mother, Chester will never learn how to forage or protect himself against predators and other dangers.

The false killer whale is a rare species to come into the aquarium’s care since they are seldom seen along the B.C. coast, are not related to the well-known killer whale, or orca, species and are an open ocean species found in the tropics in all oceans of the world.

Historically, stranded cetaceans have had a low chance of survival, but aquarium staff has always been cautiously optimistic about his recovery. From the get-go, Chester showed a fighting spirit, beating the odds.

Last month, Fisheries and Oceans Canada determined Chester be introduced to the aquarium’s dolphin enclosure since false killer whales have been kept successfully with Pacific white-sided dolphins and the species tend to get along well together.

So far the pair appears to be enjoying each other’s company and the centre’s animal husbandry team will be keeping a close eye on the pair around the clock over the next few days.

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