Vancouver Aquarium’s beloved beluga whale, Aurora, has died
Misha Gajewski, CTVNews.ca
Published Saturday, November 26, 2016 12:46PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, November 26, 2016 9:23PM EST
The last remaining beluga whale at the Vancouver Aquarium has passed away.
“With immense sadness we share the loss of Aurora who slipped away from us tonight. Our team is heartbroken,” the Vancuover Aquarium tweeted early Saturday.
The 29-year-old beluga was suffering from an unknown illness, showing symptoms of abdominal cramping, loss of appetite and lethargy. She had lost a considerable amount of weight since she became ill two weeks ago.
The whale had been under round-the-clock care for more than a week, receiving fluids and medicine every three hours.
But just a few hours before Aurora died, on Friday, Vancouver Aquarium staff remained hopeful the whale would recover after staff received new clues about what killed Aurora’s daughter, Qila.
Qila who died Nov. 16, showed similar symptoms to Aurora and was believed to have had the same illness before she passed.
Dr. Martin Haulena, the facility's head veterinarian, and his staff had started a new treatment based on Aurora based on the results of Qila’s necropsy and staff had said her condition seemed to be improving.
Aurora had started playing and seeking rubs from her trainers.
"We haven't seen these kinds of behaviours from her in almost two weeks," Haulena said in a release.
However, a short while later, things took a turn for the worse and Aurora slipped away in the night surrounded by the people who loved and cared for her.
“The past two weeks have been extremely difficult and today's loss has left a hole in our hearts. On behalf of our team of 1,500 staff and volunteers, we'd like to thank everyone who has reached out to us with warm messages of support and offers of help,” the Vancouver Aquarium said in a statement on Facebook.
It added that a necropsy will be conducted Sunday to help investigate the cause of Aurora and Qila’s sudden illness.