Male beluga whale dies at Mystic Aquarium
Mystic — An 8-year-old male beluga whale that had been at the Mystic Aquarium for less than six months died Friday night “as a result of complications from a prolonged illness.”
The whale, named Miki, was on loan to the aquarium from the Shedd Aquarium of Chicago. Both aquariums are part of the North American beluga whale breeding consortium.
Shedd belugas and dolphins also stayed at the Mystic Aquarium when their exhibit was being renovated in 2008. The Mystic Aquarium now has two belugas on display in its Arctic Coast exhibit.
In a blog posting, Shedd Aquarium said “Shedd and Mystic veterinary teams worked corroboratively on site and consulted with beluga experts from across the nation along with numerous veterinary and human health professionals to determine the best options to manage (the whale’s care).”
Maris Muzzy, cetacean manager for Shedd who worked with Miki over the last eight years shared in the posting how she was often impressed with the young whale.
“Miki mimicked the behaviors of the dolphins and learned to porpoise himself out of the water almost as high and as gracefully as they do – quite the accomplishment for a beluga whale,” she said. “His passing is heartbreaking to our team who loved and cared for him since he was born right here in the Oceanarium, and equally to our colleagues who cared for him at Mystic as well. We are so grateful for what we learned by working with him and to be able to teach millions of people about him who would otherwise never be able to see these animals in the wild.”