SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Rescued Beluga Whale Calf Dies


July 09, 2012

(SitNews) Seward, Alaska –Despite intensive around-the-clock care by a team of experts, the stranded beluga whale calf rescued from Bristol Bay on June 18 passed away late on July 8 at the the Alaska Sealife Center in Seward, Alaska.

jpg Beluga Whale Calf Rescued by the Alaska SeaLife Center

Baby Beluga Feeding
Photograph courtesy Alaska SeaLife Center

Over the past several weeks a team of marine mammal experts from the Alaska Sealife Center, Georgia Aquarium, Shedd Aquarium and SeaWorld has been providing intensive around-the-clock care to the calf. While the team faced a number of obstacles regarding the calf’s rehabilitation, it became evident Sunday 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.

The calf would have never survived as long as he did had it not been for the incredible care this expert team was able to provide – as this remains 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 multiinstitution 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 o fthis loss that will ultimately benefit beluga whales in the marine mammal community and in the wild.”

A full necropsy will be performed by ASLC veterinary staff later today (Monday). It is likely further tests will be conducted over the coming months, and a cause of death may never be known.

The Alaska SeaLife Center is the only permanent marine rehabilitation center in Alaska, responding to stranded wildlife such as sea otters, harbor seals, and whales. The stranding program responds to beluga whales with the authorization of NOAA. The Alaska SeaLife Center operates a 24-hour hotline for the public to report stranded marine mammals or birds, and encourages people who have found a stranded or sick marine animal to avoid touching or approaching the animal; instead, those individuals should call 1-888-774-SEAL (7325).


Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Related News:

Beluga Whale Calf Rescued by the Alaska SeaLife Center By Mary Kauffman, SitNews - The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) rescued a stranded male beluga whale calf from Bristol Bay recently. Alaska SeaLife Center President and CEO, Tara Riemer Jones told SitNews today that the calf is doing well. However due to its age, it is at risk of complications and staff remain guarded yet optimistic. - More...
Friday - July 06, 2012

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The Alaska SeaLife Center is a private non-profit research institution and visitor attraction which generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems. The Alaska SeaLife Center is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums.


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Stories In The News
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