A beluga whale whose father is owned by the Vancouver Aquarium has died at a SeaWorld facility in San Antonia, Texas.
The calf was just three weeks old. According to Texas media reports, the animal was born prematurely and caretakers warned it was not gaining weight as quickly as expected. It died over the weekend of July 10.
It was not immediately clear who owned the deceased animal.
According to a July 2014 park board report, the Vancouver Aquarium owns eight beluga whales. Two are kept in Vancouver, four are housed at Sea World facilities in the United States, and two are on loan to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. At least some of those animals housed in American aquariums are there on breeding loans. The terms of those arrangements can see the ownership of calves fathered by Vancouver Aquarium whales alternate between the Vancouver Aquarium and the American facility that housed the animal during the period of conception.
"When animals are sent from the Vancouver Aquarium to another institution," reads the park board report, "the breeding loan agreement specifies who will have ownership of the offspring. Generally, every other offspring will go to each of the facilities involved."
Two cetaceans owned by the Vancouver Aquarium passed away earlier this year.
On February 19, a beluga whale named Nanuq died while on loan to a SeaWorld facility in Orlando, Florida.
And on May 24, a dolphin named Hana—one of only two dolphins the Vancouver Aquarium holds in captivity—passed away shortly after undergoing bowel surgery at the facility in Stanley Park.
The Straight reached out to the Vancouver Aquarium for information about the beluga whale that died in San Antonio over the July 10 weekend. Repeated messages left via email and telephone were not returned.