Georgia Aquarium's baby beluga dies days after critical birth



ATLANTA - The Georgia Aquarium has announced the death of its beluga whale calf born Friday evening to 17-year-old Maris, a first-time mother.

Officials are still trying to determine the cause of death of the female calf that died after a feeding Wednesday morning.

“This is an extremely sad day for the Georgia Aquarium family. Over the past few days, our veterinary and animal care teams have been giving around-the-clock care to Maris and her calf,” said Dr. Gregory Bossart, senior vice president and chief veterinary officer.

“From her challenging birth to the difficulties she experienced the days following, it is clear that it is unlikely the calf would have survived as long as she did had it not been for the incredible care our dedicated team provided,” added Bossart.

Officials said the calf was significantly underweight and appeared to have a significant number of medical issues.

The calf weighed 82 pounds, which is actually 30 pounds underweight for a beluga baby. More than 60 specialists were in the water for the crucial first moments, officials said.

"Based on our knowledge of healthy calves, we knew this calf would probably not survive, but our hearts gave us hope that she might be able to pull through. Our primary concern now is the well-being of Maris,” Bossart said.

The beluga exhibit is closed to the public until further notice.

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