The Vancouver Aquarium’s Beluga whale, Quila, has passed away at 21 years old.
The Aquarium made the announcement November 16. On their website, they paid tribute to the whale in a heartfelt message.
“She was a delight for our team of staff and volunteers every single day — always the first to give us a wink, a little tail flap or a head bob in the morning.”
You can see the whole post here.
Qila was the first Beluga whale born into captivity. Qila was followed by two siblings who both died only a few years after they were born. According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, some Beluga’s can live as long as 40 or 50 years.
The cause of the death in still unknown, but the aquarium said a necropsy is expected to be done Monday.
The aquarium has received lots of scrutiny for keeping whales in captivity. And after Qila’s death was announced many people have taken to social media to express their opinions.
In the wild, Qila could have lived beyond 45 years, more than twice her age, without having to entertain visitors for her survival.
-Phil Demers (@walruswhisperer)
Captivity and breeding of whales and dolphins needs to Stop.. Qila the beluga whale dies at Vancouver Aquarium
-Danielle Dyer (@buenonote)
Beluga Qila dies. Enough is enough. End whale and dolphin captivity at @VanAqua #vanpoli #Blackfish #EmptyTheTank