Georgia Aquarium in the US has announced the death of Maris, a female beluga whale held in captivity at the acquarium for over 10 years. Maris was one of the first beluga whales kept at the facility, which puts the death down to ‘sudden, acute animal death’. Maris gave birth in May, but her calf died just a few weeks later after failing to gain weight during the critical early days.
This news comes shortly after the Georgia Aquarium lost a legal battle to bring wild caught beluga whales from Russia to the United States. The Aquarium had been trying to increase the number of belugas its holds by overturning 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.