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2nd beluga whale dies in Vancouver Aquarium in less than two weeks

Aurora, the last remaining beluga whale at the Vancouver Aquarium, passed away Friday night.

The aquarium confirmed the 30-year-old whale passed away after more than a week of illness, during which she showed symptoms of abdominal cramping, loss of appetite and lethargy.

Aurora’s death comes nine days after her calf, Qila — the first beluga whale conceived and born in captivity at a Canadian aquarium — died at 21 years old

Last week the aquarium said Aurora became ill the day after Qila died, experiencing the same symptoms as Qila.

“We will continue to investigate the cause or causes of Qila and Aurora’s sudden illness,” the aquarium said in a statement.

The aquarium also said a necropsy will be performed Saturday to look into the exact cause of death. 

Beluga Whale Calf 20080812

Qila, right, seen here with her own calf in 2008, died suddenly on Nov. 16. Her mother, Aurora, became sick the next day and passed away Friday. (Darryl Dick/The Canadian Press)

‘Heartbreaking’ loss

The aquarium said Aurora received dedicated around-the-clock care by staff and a veterinary team up until her death. Lab tests were also sent to veterinary experts around the world during the course of the treatment.

“To our team, Aurora was a part of our family and her loss is absolutely heartbreaking,” the aquarium said in a statement.

“The marine mammal care team working night and day to care for her are our true heroes, even if we lost the battle.”

Aurora was from the Western Hudson Bay population of beluga whales. The average lifespan of a beluga from this population is 15 years living in the wild, but some have been known to live as long as 40 or 50 years, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Aurora first arrived at the Vancouver Aquarium in 1990.

Aurora aquarium

Vancouver Aquarium officials examine the beluga Aurora on Nov. 18, 2016. (Vancouver Aquarium)

Article source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/aurora-beluga-vancouver-aquarium-dies-1.3869241?cmp=rss