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Popular Marineland beluga whale, Gia, dead: Details

Hailey Montgomery
Digital Reporter

Monday, August 14, 2017, 2:13 PM - One of the most-recognized and popular animals at the Marineland theme park in Niagara Falls, Ont., is dead.

In a blog post on Sunday, the park said that preliminary necropsy results on its beluga whale, Gia, indicate she “had a congenital torsion of her small intestine that caused it to twist and resulted in a full blockage of the intestine.”

Marineland added that Gia appeared to be happy and healthy before she died suddenly, and that she will be missed dearly by her caregivers.

The blog post continued to mention a recent undercover investigation by California-based animal activist organization Last Chance for Animals (LCA).

Image credit: Mahbuba Rahman, Niagara Falls, Ont.

“In the past two years, Gia was a victim of radical activists who invent animal mistreatment where [none] exists to raise funds for themselves,” the post read.

The LCA conducted the investigation into the living conditions of the park’s beluga whales over five months in 2015. Its findings, which expressed explicit concern over Gia’s wellbeing, prompted LCA’s complaint to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA). The OSPCA did not file a complaint in that instance, and Marineland referred to the group as “radical” and “non-credible.”

The LCA's website reads that Gia was separated by her mother and “left in a shallow isolation pool for three months while she became emaciated.”

Marineland’s August 13 post says that she was separated from her mother in order to be monitored almost constantly, as she was weaned off of her mother’s milk before developing a taste for fish. She was then reportedly brought back to a healthy weight after a feeding intervention by staff.

In separate but related news, Marineland announced last week that all 11 charges of animal cruelty laid against them by the OSPCA since November 2016 have been dropped by the Crown.

The charges were related to the treatment of land animals at the park.

Below: New Brunswick beluga whale rescue mission a success

The Weather Network will continue to follow this story, so check back for updates.

Source: Marineland Canada | OSPCA | Last Chance for Animals

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