“Baby Beluga” Inspiration, Kavna, Dies At 46

    August 9, 2012
    Amanda Crum
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Baby beluga whale Kavna, who lived in captivity her entire life and had been at the Vancouver Aquarium since 1976, died on Monday. She was estimated to be about 46-years old.

Kavna was well-known for her sweet disposition and inspired children’s songwriter Raffi to pen a tune about an imaginary baby whale in the ’80s called “Baby Beluga”. After visiting the aquarium and meeting Kavna, Raffi said he couldn’t stop talking about the interaction for weeks.

“The folks at the aquarium brought me to poolside and the trainer helped me to play with Kavna,” Raffi said. “She even came out of the water and placed a gentle, graceful kiss on my cheek…She was just so beautiful. She was so playful and she had a very pure spirit and you could swear she smiled at you.”

Although Kavna enjoyed a very long life for a beluga, her health had been declining in recent weeks, and when an autopsy was performed, several cancerous lesions were found. Doctors think those could have played a significant role in her death. And although she was healthy for most of her life, she gave birth to a calf soon after her arrival at the aquarium which died shortly after.

“On a day like this, I’m mostly thinking about the joy of knowing Kavna and the profound impact of the close encounter that would not have been possible in any other way,” Raffi said.

  • Shayne

    Does anyone know how large aquarium was where she lived? I hope it was a good size…….46 years would have been an awfully long time to live in a tiny area. Poor little thing – she looked so sweet.

  • J Bean

    Sorry, hate to nitpick. But if she was born in captivity, why would her age need to be “estimated”? I would think the people at the aquarium pretty much knew the moment she was born. No?

    • Anecia

      If you read carefully, she did not live at THIS aquarium her entire life. She did not come until 1976, making her aproximately 10 when she arrived.Therefore it is entirely possible that they would need to estimate her age if her prior residence either didn’t provide or didn’t have her birthdate.

  • Butchboy

    Being pragmatic, although the story is sad, I hope a whole bunch of hungry Vancouverian children will now eat whale-burgers for awhile… Someone told me whale meat is tasty, I’d assume moreso for a domesticated one…

  • Anibeth

    While I read some childish comments from idiotic posters, let me point out that this is such a sweet tribute to a beluga whale. I am sure she touched many people’s lives the same way she touched that of the author, and singer I mean, whales have feelings and souls, DO THEY? To me, that answer is a big “YES”! For you to say “no’ is not only flat, but ignorant, it shows me exactly what your weakness lies. It would be even better to say that some human beings have absolutely no souls.


      R.I.P. sweet little girl. ;(