Despite working ’round the clock’ to save the premature calf, park officials at Sea World tragically announced that it had died due to unknown causes. The three-week-old calf was fragile to begin with, and when park veterinarians noticed it was not gaining weight as rapidly as expected they grew concerned – the marine mammal’s infant formula was given seven times a day on top of nursing from the calf’s mother. However, none of the efforts could save the young fledgling whale.
A necropsy was performed on the calf Monday to determine the cause of death. Results are expected in about eight weeks.
More about Beluga whales:
The beluga whale or white whale (Delphinapterus leucas) is an Arctic and sub-Arctic cetacean. It is one of two members of the family Monodontidae, along with the narwhal. This marine mammal is commonly referred to simply as the melonhead, beluga or sea canary due to its high-pitched twitter.
The majority of belugas live in the Arctic and the seas and coasts around North America, Russia and Greenland; their worldwide population is thought to number around 150,000.
From a conservation perspective, the beluga was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List in 2008 as being “near threatened”; the subpopulation from the Cook Inlet in Alaska is considered Critically Endangered and is under the protection of the United States’ Endangered Species Act.