ATLANTA (OCTOBER 22, 2015) – Maris, one of Georgia Aquarium’s beloved beluga whales, died suddenly this afternoon.

Maris routinely received weekly examinations and her most recent exam, earlier this week, showed no signs of illness, according to Dr. Gregory Bossart, senior vice president and chief veterinary officer. Maris had been eating normally and engaging in enrichment and interaction with Georgia Aquarium’s two other beluga whales, Grayson and Qinu. Born in 1994 at the New York Aquarium, Maris arrived at Georgia Aquarium almost a decade ago, in November of 2005.

“This is a case of sudden, acute animal death,” said Dr. Bossart. “Our animals receive exceptional care, and our dedicated team of experts responded to her within minutes to render aid.”Maris routinely received weekly examinations and her most recent exam, earlier this week, showed no signs of illness, according to Dr. Gregory Bossart, senior vice president and chief veterinary officer. Maris had been eating normally and engaging in enrichment and interaction with Georgia Aquarium’s two other beluga whales, Grayson and Qinu. Born in 1994 at the New York Aquarium, Maris arrived at Georgia Aquarium almost a decade ago, in November of 2005.

 “Maris was one of the first beluga whales at Georgia Aquarium and inspired millions of guests each year. The bonds that were created over the last ten years between Maris and her animal care and veterinary teams were truly special. This unexpected loss is difficult,” said Mike Leven, the Aquarium’s chairman and chief executive officer.

A necropsy, or animal autopsy, to determine the cause of death, has already begun, and results should be available in the next several weeks. University of Georgia pathologists are conducting the necropsy with Georgia Aquarium veterinarians.

 

 

UPDATE: On Saturday Oct. 24 a press conference was held at Georgia Aquarium on the recent and tragic loss of beluga whale, Maris. The press conference was conducted by Mike Leven, Chairman and CEO, Dr. Gregory Bossart, V.M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Veterinary Officer, and Eric Gaglione, Vice President of Zoological Operations. 

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ABOUT GEORGIA AQUARIUM

Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that contains more than 10 million gallons of water and has the largest collection of aquatic animals. Georgia Aquarium’s mission is to be a scientific institution that entertains and educates, features exhibits and programs of the highest standards, and offers engaging and exciting guest experiences that promote the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. Georgia Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For additional information, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org