Vancouver Aquarium beluga whale dies while on loan to SeaWorld Orlando

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      One of the Vancouver Aquarium’s nine beluga whales died yesterday (February 19) at a SeaWorld facility in Orlando, Florida.

      According to the Orlando Sentinel, the whale, named Nanuq, was being treated for an infection that appeared after he suffered a jaw injury caused by another whale with which he shared a tank.

      The cause of death is unknown. A post-mortem examination has been scheduled but the results will likely not be known for several weeks.

      Nanuq was estimated to be 31 or 32 years old. According to National Geographic, the average lifespan of a beluga in the wild is 35 to 50 years.

      The Sentinel report states that Nanuq was at the Orlando aquarium as part of a “long-term breeding loan from the Vancouver Aquarium”.

      In August 2014, the Globe and Mail reported that Nanuq was used in artificial reproduction programs in aquariums in the United States.

      “In one Seaworld study, semen was collected from Vancouver Aquarium beluga Nanuq 42 times and subsequently used for 10 insemination attempts with seven females,” that article reads. “This resulted in two pregnancies, one of which was twin calves.”

      The same month, the Georgia Straight published an article detailing the Vancouver Aquarium's participation in organized breeding at locations across the continent.

      The aquarium based out of Stanley Park has long maintained it does not participate in organized breeding programs.

      According to a July 2014 park board report, the Vancouver Aquarium owns eight beluga whales (nine including Nanuq). Two are kept in Vancouver, four are housed at Sea World facilities in the United States (Nanuq was a fifth), and two are on loan to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.

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      16 Comments

      To Global Whale Traffickers.

      Feb 20, 2015 at 6:40pm

      Your meddling is destroying any chance for these animals to exist as they were meant to! The fact that you take these animals from the wild, ship them around the continent in containers, put them in these horrible environments and then say that 'we own them' is psychopathic.

      TCG

      Feb 20, 2015 at 7:38pm

      The idea that humans can "own" any other life is absolutely what is wrong with the world.

      Justan

      Feb 20, 2015 at 9:24pm

      Congratulations Sweet Angel. You made the grade. Sleep now. No more torture on this earthly plain at the hands of thieves of beauty, love, youth, life, joy. No longer will they hold you captive for their amusement; For their joy of seeing beauty tortured.

      Holly Burke

      Feb 21, 2015 at 9:32am

      Poor guy. How would you feel? How would any sentient being feel, to be so badly "used."

      Hypnotik1

      Feb 21, 2015 at 12:01pm

      I'm sure Seaworld and Vancouver Aquarium are "mourning" the loss of their stud beluga, who has been shipped around like baggage between parks for years. Nanuq deserved better than being exploited by the greedy, despicable marine park industry for his semen. RIP Nanuq, you are finally free of the chains of captivity

      Lisa Marcera

      Feb 21, 2015 at 5:52pm

      How much death and destruction to the animal world by greedy, heartless and supremist mentality jerks does it take to change how people feel about these places like Seaworld and Aquariums. Just like as humans we do not want to be imprisoned....either do these animals. This world needs to rise up against these places and be the VOICE for the VOICELESS!!! PLEASE STOP the INSANITY.....CAPTIVITY NEEDS TO BE BANNED.......FOREVER

      Myriam Brulot

      Feb 21, 2015 at 6:28pm

      The keeping of these complex animals in activity will surely go, one day, as have other barbaric practices that we no longer see as compatible with a civilized society - and not a day too soon. I mourn for this animal and for all others that continue to live in concrete bathtubs instead of the ocean where they belong.

      Zia galamb

      Feb 21, 2015 at 7:20pm

      Just another example of these wondrous sentient beings used for human's entertainment at the expense of their well being..they are nothing but commodities. ..so wrong...so sad

      Errol Povah

      Feb 21, 2015 at 7:48pm

      What? NO COMMENT from "SeaWorld North"s John Nightingale, Clint Wright, Marcus Wernicke et al? I'm sure at least one of them will open their yaps when a mic is put in front of them over the next few days...and they're asked about Nanuq...and something along the lines of "Shit happens!" will come out. Such warmth, such compassion. In the meantime, they're too busy hitting the 'thumbs down' buttons on these posts; how could any decent, sane, caring (i.e., not driven primarily by money/greed) 'dislike' any of the above posts...especially when they're not contributing a post themselves???

      Tragically, Nanuq is just the most recent on an extremely long list of prematurely dead captive cetaceans; a list that will continue to grow longer and longer, until the captivity industry is put out of business, once and for all.

      In terms of cetaceans in captivity, the "RESEARCH" argument is about as valid for the Vancouver Aquarium as it is for Japanese whaling fleet!

      By the way, John, how's the training of Chester, the false killer whale coming along? Is he doing stupid circus tricks for dead fish yet...all for the entertainment (oops, I mean "education", right John...wink, wink, nudge nudge) of us supposedly more intelligent human beings???

      Linda

      Feb 21, 2015 at 9:10pm

      There is NO excuse for keeping animals or mammals or anything in cages. Period.