I was saddened to read that the Vancouver Aquarium's beluga whale, Kavna, died on August 6, 2012. As the aquarium's oldest (reported to be at least 46 years old), it was also known to be the oldest beluga whale in any accredited aquarium in North America.
Vancouver Aquarium General Manager Clint Wright said the staff and volunteers were saddened by the loss of Kavna, but were left "with very warm memories of her at the Vancouver Aquarium." A necropsy of the whale was conducted by Dr. Stephen Raverty of the Ministry of Agriculture, and preliminary results indicate that Kavna had lesions "most consistent with cancer," although and infectious cause was also considered a small possibility. Raverty and his assistants said there were widespread lesions affecting the reproductive tract, along with many other tissues. "The treatment and care she had been receiving were focused on treating a reproductive disorder," said Raverty. "We had hoped that her illness was treatable, but early findings are consistent with an incurable cancer." More tests will be conducted during the next few months.