Raffi's beluga dies at 46

Meighan Makarchuk/CP/HO Vancouver Aquarium

beluga that inspired this song, a hit with kiddies in the decades since, has passed away at its aquarium home in Vancouver. She was 46.

Kavna was captured in 1976 near Churchill, Manitoba, and became a star attraction at the Vancouver Aquarium. Millions of awed gawkers have admired the white beauty over the years. Many who could not make the trip to Vancouver learned about the beluga through the artist Raffi’s song, “Baby Beluga,” composed after the singer met with the whale in 1979.

Whales in the wild typically do not age beyond 30. Aquarium staff suspect cancer as the cause of death.

The Vancouver Aquarium’s general manager says Kavna gave Canadians a window into the Artic.”For many people, the Arctic is just somewhere up there, people don’t really know a lot about it, and I think Kavna really brought home what the Arctic is about,” he told Toronto CityTV. “We believe that it’s only by bringing these animals, talking about them…talking about the issues that we make people aware of it. Otherwise, it’s just another animal out there that people kind of know about.”

In the last few years three other whales have died at the aquarium. Only two belugas remain.

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