One of Mystic Aquarium’s well-known belugas has passed away after a prolonged respiratory illness.
If you’ve seen the beluga exhibit at Mystic Aquarium, you might have noticed the 33-year-old Naku.
She was light gray, with a white patch on her dorsal ridge and a white crescent moon shape on her head.
“Naku has been battling a respiratory illness since last fall and despite the extraordinary efforts of aquarium veterinarians and animal care staff Naku passed away …,” Dr. Tracy Romano, Executive Vice President of Research and Zoological Operations at Sea Research Foundation said in a statement issued on March 9. “She will be missed by all. Naku had been a part of the Aquarium’s collection for almost 30 years and had played an integral role in serving as an ambassador in educating the public about beluga whales.”
Aquarium veterinarians and researchers will perform a necropsy to determine the exact cause of death.
The average lifespan of a beluga is 35 to 50 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.