ATLANTA – A young beluga calf, heralded as a milestone for whales born in captivity, has died.
The Georgia Aquarium says the female calf, not yet a month old, died Friday morning next to her mother.
When the whale was born May 10, aquarium officials called it the first “viable calf” to be delivered from parents who were born in captivity.
Aquarium spokeswoman Jessica Fontana says preliminary tests show that the calf may have had gastrointestinal problems and difficulty digesting nutrients. Officials say a necropsy will be conducted, but the calf’s exact cause of death may never be clear.
The calf’s mother, Maris, was born at the New York Aquarium. Her father, Beethoven, was born at SeaWorld San Antonio.
In 2012, Maris delivered a female calf that died days after birth.