Beluga Dies at SeaWorld Following Injury
Nanuq, a beluga whale at SeaWorld Orlando, has died after fracturing his jaw during an “interaction” with two other whales and later contracting an infection. An examination of Nanuq’s body has been arranged to determine the exact cause of death.In 1990, when Nanuq was just 6 years old, he was torn away from his home waters in Manitoba, Canada. In the wild, belugas live together in small groups known as pods. They are social animals and communicate with each other using a language of clicks, whistles, and clangs. But Nanuq was trapped and would never see or communicate with his pod again. The Vancouver Aquarium owned Nanqu, but much like a piece of equipment, he was “on loan” to SeaWorld for profit. The sensitive, intelligent whale was shipped five times between various SeaWorld parks, where he was used for breeding and to entertain visitors at the park’s “Beluga Interaction Program.”
For two years prior to 2010, Nanuq was part of an intensive experimental artificial insemination program at SeaWorld and was removed from the water approximately 42 times so that workers could collect sperm samples. He has seven living offspring—he fathered 13 babies, but six died at birth or shortly thereafter.
While the official cause of Nanuq’s death is not yet known, one thing is clear: Humans took Nanuq’s life away from him on the day that they captured him 25 years ago and sentenced him to a stress-filled, lonely existence in concrete pools.
PETA has submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging the agency to investigate Nanuq’s injury and death and take disciplinary action for any violations of Animal Welfare Act standards, such as the possible failure to provide adequate veterinary care, handle animals in a manner that does not cause physical harm, and house incompatible animals in separate enclosures.