beluga whale

Second Beluga Whale at Mystic Aquarium in Stable Condition After Falling Critically Ill Last Week

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Mystic Aquarium says that a second of the five beluga whales it imported in May from a marine park in Canada is now in "stable, but guarded condition," after being in failing health last week.

This female whale is suffering from several health issues including a low white blood cell count and gastrointestinal issues, but the aquarium veterinary staff said she has displayed signs of incremental improvement in her white blood count, gastric health, and appetite, and is maintaining her weight.

In an update released Monday night, Dr. Stephen M. Coan, President and CEO of Mystic Aquarium said the female whale is not out of the woods yet, but there have been some positive changes.

“While it is too early to be optimistic, there have been incremental improvements in the whale’s white blood count, overall gastric health, appetite, and stabilization of her weight," said Coan. "We have a long way to go before we can say there has been a significant recovery.”

The beluga was one of five whales imported from Marineland in Canada as part of a research initiative to save endangered beluga whales from extinction, said officials.

The illness of this second beluga comes just three weeks after a male beluga, who was also part of the group that arrived from Marineland in Niagara Falls, died at Mystic.

According to aquarium officials, a preliminary report revealed extensive underlying health complications in the male beluga that would have been undetectable by attending veterinarians at the time of the transport. The cause of death has not been determined yet.

Connecticut-based Friends of Animals and other activists had sought to block the transport of the whales in a lawsuit last fall, but a federal judge declined to issue an injunction.

Beluga and cetacean experts have been flown in from around the country to assist the Aquarium veterinary staff.

“The health and well-being of the beluga whales remains our first and most important priority, and we will continue to dedicate the full extent of our resources and our energy to helping this beluga make a full recovery,” stated Coan.

All of the other belugas at the habitat are reported to be in good health.

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