Whale dies three months after leaving Canada for the Mystic Aquarium | Daily news alerts


MYSTIC (AP) – One of the five belugas acquired from aquarium in Canada after legal battle with animal rights activists died in his new home in Connecticut.

Officials at Mystic Aquarium, which specializes in beluga research, said in a Facebook post that the male whale arrived in May with a pre-existing health problem. He died on Friday, despite “24-hour medical treatment, testing and 24-hour monitoring,” the aquarium said in a statement.

“Although he showed signs of improvement from gastrointestinal illness, we are deeply saddened to share that he passed away (Friday) morning,” the aquarium said. “This is a devastating loss for our staff and for the community, especially the animal care team who work closely with the beluga whales. “

The whale arrived with four others in May from Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario, after a long battle to obtain permits from the United States and Canada.

Connecticut-based Friends of Animals and other activists tried to block the transport in a lawsuit last fall against the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the National Marine Fisheries Service, which approved the license to research.

The group claimed the US permit violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the National Environmental Policy Act because government officials failed to adequately address the potential damage to belugas caused by their transfer to Mystic.

In March, a federal judge refused to issue an injunction.

The whales, aged 7 to 12, were born in captivity and left crowded habitat with around 50 other whales to be the focus of important research designed to benefit beluga whales in the wild, aquarium officials said. .

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