Stray Penny, Pebbles Kill Baby Whale

Nala's airway became blocked at Vancouver Aquarium
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2010 5:34 PM CDT
Stray Penny, Pebbles Kill Baby Whale
In this 2009 file photo, Vancouver Aquarium's baby beluga whale, Nala, and her mother, Aurora, swim.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward, File)

Sad news from the Vancouver Aquarium: A baby beluga whale is dead after her airway became blocked by a buildup of debris including pebbles and a penny. The stones are part of the aquarium, but it's unclear how the penny got in there and why Nala wasn't able to expel it. A congenital defect is one possibility.

"A very, very strange finding, one that we certainly did not suspect," said an aquarium vet. "Obviously the penny is a little concerning and we are going to try to figure out where that came from." The CBC and Vancouver Sun have more details about Nala, who is the second beluga to die at the aquarium in 5 years. (Read more beluga whale stories.)

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