Featured Image Credit:Meighan Makarchuk/Vancouver Aquarium
By Lindsay Edgar
The Vancouver Aquarium is leaving no stone unturned in the mysterious deaths of its two beloved beluga whales – Qila and Aurora. Qila, the 21 year old calf, died unexpectedly on November 16th. Then nine days later on November 25th, her mother Aurora followed. Although skeptical at first, the Aquarium president Dr. John Nightingale said that it appears the two deaths are related. The whales displayed similar symptoms during their sudden illnesses, and investigators are slowly putting pieces together.
And the hits just keep on coming. One of the enclosure pools was purposefully drained at the aquarium’s off-site rescue. The 42 seal pups housed there were not harmed, but the sabotage sure is strange. The pups at the center were given a second chance at life, so to deliberately drain their enclosure is a direct attack to their survival.
Unfortunately, the Vancouver Aquarium is all too familiar with unexplained deaths of animals in its care. Back on November 25th 1986, staff arrived to find 750 fish floating in the murky waters of their usually clear tanks. Beautiful and rare species were poisoned by a large amount of copper sulfate that had been added to the filtration system. And it was no accident – it was a malicious act carried out by someone with apparent knowledge of how the system and the chemical worked. Although the public banded together to raise money for replacement fish, it was a detrimental setback for the aquarium.
The main priority right now is the safety and health of the remaining tenants, and authorities are doing as much as possible to solve this mystery. Let’s hope they swim against the tide and strive for answers.
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