Qila, the first beluga whale to be born in captivity in Canada has died at the age of 21.
Qila was from the Western Hudson Bay population of wild beluga whales but was born into captivity and held at the Vancouver Aquarium for all of her short life. The cause of death is not know at this point but further investigations are expected to take place.
Belugas can live up to the age of 60 in the wild, travelling large distances each day, hunting and playing. In captivity they have very little space and cannot behave naturally. A concrete tank can never replace their ocean home.
The Aquarium had been trying to import 18 whales captured in Sea of Okhotsk, Russia, but the court initially denied a permit to do so on the grounds that the Aquarium had not met conditions required to approve its controversial plan.
A two-year-old beluga whale calf called Stella had died at SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas.
It is not yet known what caused her death but SeaWorld says she was being treated for possible gastrointestinal issues.
Stella is the second young beluga to die at the marine park this year. Both whales were the offspring of Imaq, a wild-caught beluga held at the Vancouver Aquarium.
The appeal by Georgia Aquarium to overturn and invalidate the decision to deny its request for a permit to import 18 beluga whales from Russia is officially closed.
Georgia Aquarium has lost a legal battle to bring wild caught beluga whales from Russia to the United States.
The Aquarium had been trying to overturn a US federal decision which initially denied its request to import 18 whales captured in Sea of Okhotsk, Russia, on the grounds that the Aquarium had not met conditions required to approve its controversial plan.
As representatives from the Georgia Aquarium continue their legal battle to bring wild caught beluga whales from Russia to the United States, events have taken an unusual twist with the revelation by captivity show giant, SeaWorld, that they would not now accept any of the belugas (under a breeding loan) that the Georgia Aquarium is trying to import.
The announcement by SeaWorld comes at a time when their public image is under threat due to growing unrest over the treatment of whales and dolphins in captivity.
Two beluga whales were sighted in the North Sea earlier this week off the coast of Northumberland.
Belugas, normally found in cold, arctic waters, are rare visitors to UK waters with less than 20 recorded sightings.