British Columbia

Vancouver Aquarium's last remaining beluga 'perking up' after illness

The Vancouver Aquarium says its last remaining beluga appears to be on the mend. Earlier this week, Aurora was displaying the same symptoms as a beluga that died on Nov. 16.

Aquarium says it's still investigating what killed Aurora's daughter, Qila, earlier this week

Aurora the beluga whale is tended to by Vancouver Aquarium officials on Nov. 18, 2016. (Vancouver Aquarium)

The Vancouver Aquarium says its last remaining beluga appears to be on the mend after displaying symptoms of illness earlier this week.

Aurora, a 29-year-old beluga, fell ill after her 21-year-old daughter Qila died Wednesday of unknown causes. 

"We were worried overnight as she was displaying more lethargy and abdominal discomfort," said the aquarium's veterinary team in a written statement.

"However, starting at about 2 a.m.she perked up again. She looked brighter this morning and little more interactive. She also looks more relaxed."

The aquarium said the team will continue to monitor Aurora closely. 

The beluga fell ill shortly after the sudden and unexpected death of Qila. As with her daughter, aquarium staff first noticed the animal was eating less. 

Earlier this week, Vancouver Aquarium CEO John Nightingale said the aquarium was investigating possible causes of Qila's death, which could include disease or toxins. 

Qila's death has ignited a call for a city-wide referendum on whether Vancouver should allow captive whales. 

Qila was the first beluga whale conceived and born in a Canadian aquarium and was Aurora's first offspring.

Aurora's second calf Tuvaq, a male, was born in 2002 and died in 2005. Her third calf, a female named Nala, was born in 2009 but died a year later from an apparent infection.

Qila became a mother in June 2008 when she gave birth to a female calf named Tiqa, who died three years later of pneumonia.