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Ailing Vancouver Aquarium beluga stumps vets following death of another whale

Vancouver Aquarium, beluga whale, Aurora
Ailing beluga whale Aurora, of the Vancouver Aquarium pictured in a June 25, 2014 file photo. Photo by Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press.

The only remaining beluga whale at the Vancouver Aquarium is under round-the-clock observation, exhibiting the same symptoms as another beluga that died suddenly on Wednesday.

Aquarium officials say Aurora, believed to be about 29-years-old, is showing signs of abdominal discomfort, cramping and inflammation.

The whale is the mother of Qila, a whale that was born at the aquarium 21 years ago and died unexpectedly.

The aquarium says in a news release that a necropsy did not identify an obvious cause of death, raising concern about what might be afflicting Aurora.

Dr. Martin Haulena is leading the team caring for Aurora and told a news conference Thursday the whale was not eating or interacting with trainers.

A blog posted by the aquarium says a veterinarian from SeaWorld in San Diego has arrived to assist Haulena and the whale has been moved to a medical pool, away from the public, while treatment continues.

"There is nothing, unfortunately, to hang our hats on at this point, in terms of guiding treatment for Aurora," Haulena said.

Blood work is being done regularly on Aurora, but Haulena said it hasn't identified any clues about Aurora's illness and also offered no hints about Qila's condition before she died.

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