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Ga. Aquarium releases cause of beluga whale's death | News

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Ga. Aquarium releases cause of beluga whale's death

ATLANTA -- Georgia Aquarium said that a beloved beluga whale died of acute heart failure.

Maris, one of the first beluga whales to arrive at the facility, passed away unexpectedly in October.  Prior to her death, aquarium officials said that Maris appeared in "excellent physical condition."

A necropsy conducted by University of Georgia pathologists and Georgia Aquarium veterinarians found microscopic lesions in the heart and other tissues that indicate the cause of death, officials said.

“Maris died from acute heart failure of undetermined etiology. No predisposing cause for the heart failure could be determined from the necropsy. An acute disturbance in heart function is suspected as one possible cause. There was also no evidence of infectious disease,” said Dr. Gregory Bossart, senior vice president and chief veterinary officer.

Maris was born in 1994 at the New York Aquarium. She arrived at Georgia Aquarium in November 2005. 

In May, Maris gave birth to a baby calf. Sadly, the calf passed away after a few weeks.  Maris gave birth to her first calf in May 2012, but it also did not survive

PHOTOS: Maris and her late beluga calf