Second Beluga Whale in Poor Health Condition After Moving to Connecticut Aquarium

by Megan Molseed

A Connecticut aquarium claims that two beluga whales recently acquired from a Canadian Marine Park are in failing health. According to reports, this is the second beluga to fall ill shortly after transfer. She is part of a group of five whales imported to the Mystic in Connecticut from Marineland in Ontario.

“The veterinarian team is monitoring the (female) beluga around the clock,” the aquarium announced. According to a Fox News report, the Connecticut aquarium states that they are doing everything they can to help the whale.

The spokesperson said the aquarium is exploring all possible treatment options available to them to help the whale get better.

Some Were Concerend About the Transfer From the Start

A male beluga that was part of the original group of whales coming from Marineland, died in the Ontario institution earlier this summer. However, the aquarium has stated that this male arrived at the facility with a preexisting gastrointestinal condition.

Animal activist groups such as the Connecticut-based Friends of Animals attempted to block the whale’s arrival at the aquarium last fall. The groups filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Commerce secretary and the institution which had originally approved the permit to transfer the whales, the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The lawsuit alleged the permit violated portions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act as well as the National Environmental Policy Act. This claim stems from the allegation that these entities did not completely address the potential harm that the belugas could face in the transition to the Mystic aquarium.

Naomi Rose, a member of the Animal Welfare Institute spoke out regarding these issues.

“When (the male whale) died, Mystic said the other four were in good health,” Rose explained. “Well, three weeks later, one of them is probably dying.”

Rose added that whether the beluga was sick when she arrived, or whether she became ill after transportation doesn’t matter.

“If it’s something that happened in the last three weeks, well what the hell is that?” Rose said. “And if it’s something that she was already suffering from when she came from Marineland, then she wasn’t healthy three weeks ago, so they just outright lied.”

Belugas Born In Captivity

According to Mystic, the beluga whales were born in an overcrowded habitat in the Canadian Marineland. The aquarium noted that the whales were held with about 50 other belugas. Aquarium officials say the plans for the belugas at the Mystic include “important research designed to benefit belugas in the wild.”

The institution added that these whales would likely not survive if released into the wild.

“The belugas brought to Mystic were all born under human care,” the statement said. “Therefore would not survive if released into the wild.”