Rescued beluga dies
Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) announced, in a press release, the July 9 death of the rescued beluga calf found stranded following a storm in South Naknek on June 18.
Over several weeks a team of marine mammal experts from ASLC, Georgia Aquarium, Shedd Aquarium and SeaWorld provided intensive around-the-clock care to the calf. While the team faced a number of obstacles regarding the calf’s rehabilitation, it became evident July 8 that the young whale’s condition continued to decline. The team became more concerned as the evening progressed, but despite all efforts the calf passed away shortly after midnight on July 9.
The calf would have never survived as long as he did had it not been for the care the expert team was able to provide. The beluga’s rescue is the first known U.S. rescue of a stranded live beluga calf since the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of this beluga calf,” said Tara Riemer Jones, president and CEO of the Alaska SeaLife Center. “But we are incredibly proud of the care that the multi-institution animal and veterinary team provided. The knowledge they brought from the whales in their care at their home institutions allowed us to provide the best medical and animal care possible to this calf. There is more we will continue to learn about beluga whales as a result of this loss that will ultimately benefit beluga whales in the marine mammal community and in the wild.”
The Associated Press reported last week that a necropsy showed that the baby beluga suffered multiple infections.