A female beluga whale has died suddenly at the Georgia Aquarium on Thursday. She was 21-year-old Maris, born at the New York Aquarium in 1994 but brought to Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta in 2005 - according to a CNN news.
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"This is a case of sudden, acute animal death," said Dr. Gregory Bossart, chief veterinary officer at the Georgia Aquarium.
Bossart said Maris did not show any signs of illness before her death, and she interacted normally with the other two beluga whales at the aquarium – Grayson and Qinu.
Maris lived for 10 years in Georgia before her death; she gave birth to a calf early this year, but it died in June.
“We’re profoundly saddened to announce the sudden loss of our 21-year-old beluga whale, Maris,” the management of the aquarium wrote in a statement also posted on Twitter.
Wildlife experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said beluga whales in the wild live up to 35 to 50 years before they die.
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Pathologists from the University of Georgia and the experts at the aquarium are already performing a necropsy on the dead whale, and results should be available in the next several weeks.