British Columbia

Whale's death still a mystery

Veterinarians at the Vancouver Aquarium say they may never know what killed Tuvaq, the beluga whale that died suddenly three weeks ago.

Veterinarians at the Vancouver Aquarium say they may never know what killed Tuvaq, the beluga whale that died suddenly three weeks ago.

The three-year-old whale stopped breathing and died in front of hundreds of visitors.

Aquarium staff had suspected a sudden heart attack. But head veterinarian Dr. David Huff says a just-completed necropsy ruled that out.

He says the tests did show the whale suffered from severe anemia.

"In this case he had a lack of red blood cells because his body in some way was destroying them, and that produced a blood level of iron about four times what we would normally see in a beluga whale."

But Huff also says they don't know if the anemia killed Tuvaq. "And that's not unusual when you are dealing with whales because there are lot of tests that are not available to use that are avaliable in human medicine."

Huff says aquarium staff and experts from around the world have looked at the files without finding any clue how Tuvaq got the mysterious blood disorder.

It was the fifth whale calf to die at the Vancouver Aquarium.

now