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Vigil for Chester, Vancouver Aquarium's false killer whale

Chester, a false killer whale that was taken into the care of the Vancouver Aquarium after he was found injured near Tofino in 2014, died Nov. 24, 2017. (Lasia Kretzel NEWS 1130 Photo)

Chester's behaviour changed on Wednesday and he died two days later

Some activists are pushing for cetaceans not to be held in captivity any longer

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – If you’re going to the Vancouver Aquarium today, you may see a crowd outside at about 4:30 p.m.

Some advocates and activists are planning to gather for a vigil to remember Chester, the false killer whale who died yesterday at the facility.

A necropsy was done on Friday, however, the cause of death still isn’t clear. “We know that stranded animals, possibly because of injuries sustained during stranding, do have incidences of renal failure later on. That is something we’ll be looking at during the necropsy,” says head veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena.

Staff say Chester’s behaviour started to change on Wednesday before he passed away less than 48 hours later.

The aquarium started looking after Chester in 2014 when he was found stranded at a beach near Tofino. At the time, he was about a month old and the facility says he was in really poor condition with several cuts and wounds along his body.

“Because he was so young when he was found, Chester’s lack of life skills would have put him at a disadvantage in the wild — he did not know how to forage on his own or protect himself from predators and other possible dangers. In May of 2015, Fisheries and Oceans Canada deemed him non-releasable and asked the Vancouver Aquarium to provide a long-term home for him,” say staff in a statement.

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The aquarium says little is known about the species and despite having “whale” in their name, they’re actually part of the dolphin family.