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The Shedd Aquarium's Beluga Whale Dies

By Gwendolyn Purdom in News on Aug 8, 2016 5:44PM

Miki, the Shedd Aquarium beluga whale who died over the weekend, photo courtesy of the Shedd Aquarium

In a bummer of a blog post Saturday, the Shedd Aquarium announced that one of its beluga whales died over the weekend. Miki, an almost 9-year-old male, passed away Friday "as a result of complications from a prolonged illness," according to the Shedd's post.

“Miki was beloved. We would do anything and everything we could for his welfare—and that of every animal at Shedd or in our colleague organizations," Shedd's vice president of animal health Bill Van Bonn said in a statement. "The loss of any life is heartbreaking. Miki will be especially missed."

Miki died at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut where he was participating in a North American beluga whale breeding consortium in which the Shedd is involved. According to the post, both Shedd and Mystic veterinary teams had collaborated and consulted on Miki's care. He'd previously spent time at Mystic in 2008 while the Shedd's habitats were renovated.

“Miki mimicked the behaviors of the dolphins and learned to porpoise himself out of the water almost as high and as gracefully as they do—quite the accomplishment for a beluga whale,” Shedd cetacean manager Maris Muzzy, who worked closely with Miki, said in the post. "We are so grateful for what we learned by working with him and to be able to teach millions of people about him who would otherwise never be able to see these animals in the wild.”

In his younger days, Miki enjoyed playing with siblings like Nunavik, and unrelated fellow whale buddies like females Naya and Kayavak, according to previous Shedd blog posts. R.I.P., Miki.