ATLANTA (AP/WAOK) – The first beluga whale born at the Georgia Aquarium has died.
Aquarium officials say the calf died Wednesday morning. The 82-pound beluga was underweight when she was born Friday and had been in critical condition since then with 24-hour care from aquarium workers.
First-time pregnancies in belugas and other types of marine mammals are often unsuccessful in both captivity and the wild. William Hurley, the aquarium’s chief animal officer, said the birth was “challenging” and the calf had difficulty swimming, which meant she couldn’t rise to the surface of the water to breathe.
The aquarium is performing a necropsy to determine cause of death.
Hurley said Maris, the calf’s mother, is being monitored by aquarium staff and is doing well.