• Georgia Aquarium beluga whale, Maris, dies suddenly

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - One of the Georgia Aquarium’s beluga whales died suddenly Thursday afternoon.

    Maris was one of the first beluga whales at the aquarium, along with Grayson and Qinu. She was born in 1994 and arrived at the aquarium in 2005.

    Aquarium officials aren’t sure what led to her death.

    They say she was eating and engaging normally prior to her death.

    Maris has received weekly examinations and showed no sign of illness earlier this week.

     “This is a case of sudden, acute animal death,” said senior vice president and chief veterinary officer Dr. Gregory Bossart. “Our animals receive exceptional care, and our dedicated team of experts responded to her within minutes to render aid.”

    The team says the unexpected loss is difficult.

    Earlier this year, Maris gave birth to a calf, that died shortly after.

    University of Georgia pathologists and Georgia Aquarium veterinarians will conduct an animal autopsy to find out what led to Maris’ death.

    Next Up: