Mystic Aquarium asks to resume his research; whale enhancement


Mystic Aquarium officials are asking that they be allowed to resume research on four beluga whales, which were halted following the death of the fifth whale imported this spring from Canada.

The request is part of a three-page report released Monday by the National Marine Fisheries Service detailing the August 6 death of a male whale known as Havok.

The report was released at the same time as the aquarium released a public statement that a female whale named Jetta, which was reportedly critically ill last week, is improving and being closely watched.

“Although it is too early to be optimistic, there have been gradual improvements in the whale’s white blood cell count, overall gastric health, appetite and weight stabilization,” said Stephen Coan. , president and CEO of the aquarium. “We’re by no means out of the woods and we have a long way to go before we can say there has been a meaningful recovery.”

Coan said the aquarium brought in experts from across the country to help with Jetta’s treatment.

It is not yet known whether Jetta’s condition is linked to those who caused the death of Havok, who Coan said had gastric ulcers and other pre-existing problems, including a heart deformity. The cause of death has not been determined.

“As this was an isolated health event and in no way related to ongoing research, we respectfully request permission to resume research sampling from the other animals listed on the permit to achieve our important research objectives. “Mystic said in his report to NMFS, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Jetta and Havok were a group of five whales imported in May from Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ont., To Mystic, which specializes in beluga research. The aquarium plans to study them and use blood, saliva and other biological samples to help them better understand the health of whales in the wild.

The aquarium said in its report that Havok’s death was not caused by this research.

“This case was an unpredictable health issue in an animal that had been cleared by qualified veterinarians in Canada for transport,” the aquarium said in its report, which was submitted to NOAA on Aug. 17, before Jetta is declared ill. “We have been vigilant and will continue to ensure that one whale’s medical condition does not pose a risk to others. This matter has no impact on the health of our other animals.

NOAA spokeswoman Kate Brogan said the agency was working closely with the Federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to review Mystic’s report.

Connecticut-based Friends of Animals and other activists tried unsuccessfully to block the transport of the whales in a lawsuit last fall.

Steven Hernick, an attorney for Friends of Animals, said on Tuesday they were considering further legal action if they determined it could help Mystic’s beluga whales or “prevent future transports like this.”

Naomi Rose, a scientist from the Animal Welfare Institute, who was not part of the trial, said she would oppose resuming research at Mystic until NOAA and the Inspection Service of the animal and plant health conduct a thorough assessment of the health of the remaining whales.

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