Yesterday morning, we shared the sudden passing of beluga whale Qila. The health and safety of animals at Vancouver Aquarium are our top priorities and we are investigating all possible explanations as to why she passed so suddenly. Our head veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena participated in Qila’s necropsy yesterday. Unfortunately, it did not result in any clear outcome as to why she passed.
Most concerning to us at this point is the current health of Qila’s mother, Aurora, who is displaying symptoms similar to Qila before she passed yesterday morning. We have been conducting a deep exploration into all possible medical explanations, with help from veterinarians, pathologists, technicians and marine biologists across North America, but have not yet received the results from important tests that may help.
Under the leadership of Dr. Haulena, the marine mammal care team has been caring for Aurora around-the-clock. She is currently in a hospital-like environment in our medical pool where she is familiar and comfortable.
We continue to work with experts from around the world, and are flying in an additional veterinarian from SeaWorld’s veterinary team for additional assistance, to ensure we have as many professionals on the ground as possible to explore every option so that no stone is left unturned.
In our 60 years of conserving aquatic life more than 40 million people have engaged with these majestic animals including Aurora and Qila. It’s these direct engagements that have helped us fall in love with marine mammals and connect people to our oceans and the animals that depend on them.
We’re sharing these developments with you as we’ve had just as many questions among our team as some of you have had regarding Qila’s sudden passing. Our team is entirely focused on Aurora’s care and we would like to thank everyone for your warm thoughts and supportive messages. We feel it is important to share these updates and will continue to do so as we learn more.