A baby beluga born into captivity at SeaWorld Orlando died of unknown causes just moments after it was born to 17-year-old mom Whisper.
The theme park announced the death of the calf on Friday, stating in a press release that the beluga was born earlier in the week and was “unusually weak.”
“Unfortunately the unusually weak calf surfaced only briefly before sinking to the bottom of the pool. The animal care and veterinary teams reacted quickly and were able to reach the calf and begin emergency care. Despite their best efforts and expertise, we are saddened to confirm that the calf did not survive,” the Florida park said in a statement.
SeaWorld Orlando, which was eagerly awaiting the new arrival, is unsure what caused the sudden and shocking death, especially since Whisper had a full and healthy pregnancy. SeaWorld plans to perform a full post-mortem examination to hopefully get some insight into what caused the calf to perish so quickly. Results could take several weeks.
“Whisper received routine ultrasounds and health assessments to monitor her and the calf’s progress throughout the pregnancy, which progressed as expected. Additionally, there were no obvious signs of complications during labor and everything otherwise appeared to progress normally,” the park added.
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The baby’s mother, Whisper, was born at SeaWorld Antonio in 2009 and transferred to Orlando in 2010. While SeaWorld is saddened by the sudden loss of Whisper’s calf, the park is focusing on the mother’s care, enusring she gets the “attention she needs” during this difficult time.
Whisper is currently being held and monitored in the back pool of SeaWorld Orlando’s beluga habitat until the animal care team feel she is ready to go back on display. According to the park, Whisper is active and alert, and has not required any additional medical care at this time.