A bacterial infection may have been what killed Chester, the false killer whale who lived at the Vancouver Aquarium.
That’s according to a preliminary necropsy report.
“The disease is called erysipelas in cetaceans,” Vancouver Aquarium head veterinarian Martin Haulena said in an email. “This is the first case at the Vancouver Aquarium to our knowledge.”
He said the infection has killed cetaceans both in the wild and in the care of humans.
Chester died last Friday; the whale was rescued from a beach near Tofino three years ago.
WATCH: Chester the false killer whale enjoys the rain
Haulena said that as a result, “Helen” the Pacific white-sided dolphin – and the last cetacean at the aquarium – is currently taking medication.
“Although she is showing no signs of the disease, Helen is being treated with antibiotics as a preventative measure,” Haulena said.
The Vancouver Aquarium said even though dolphins are social species, decisions about Helen’s future are complicated, and “our options are limited at this time because of Park Board legislation and action before the courts.”
WATCH: Vancouver Aquarium launches lawsuit against Park Board
The issue of captivity at the aquarium has been a hot-button issue in recent years.
In May, the Vancouver Park Board approved a new bylaw banning the Vancouver Aquarium from bringing any new cetaceans to its Stanley Park facility.
Back in June, Daisy the harbour porpoise — another rescue animal — also passed away.
The last two beluga whales living at the aquarium died last year.
- With files from Simon Little