Kavna, the whale who inspired the popular children's tune "Baby Beluga" passed away this week. The Vancouver Aquarium, where the Kavna lived, revealed that preliminary results from a necropsy suggest the most likely cause of the whale's death is cancer. The aquarium stated that at age 46, Kavna was the oldest beluga whale in any accredited aquarium in North America. From a Vancouver Aquarium statement:
Beluga whales in the wild are believed to live to about 25 to 30 years old. At approximately 46 years old, Kavna was considered to be at the end of her natural life, and had lived a long and healthy life in the care of the Aquarium’s marine mammal care team. The Aquarium’s staff and volunteers, especially its marine mammal care team who had been caring for Kavna since 1975, are saddened by this loss but share in the many fond memories experienced with her over the past 36 years.
Kavna, who has enchanted the hearts and admiration of millions of visitors, will be greatly missed by Aquarium staff, volunteers, members and visitors.
"Baby Beluga" was written by Raffi Cavoukian, a popular children's music composer and performer. The song has become a classic recognized by children around the world.
CTV was able to interview Raffi about his feelings on Kavna's passing:
Raffi is active on Twitter and has taken up the cause of distancing the Baby Beluga in his song from Kavna. The singer is adamant that Baby Beluga, as an imaginary whale in a song, is not, and never will be, dead. Several of Raffi's tweets include pictures of the singer and Kavna:
.@VancouverAqua just heard the news, sad she's gone. loved meeting her in '79 ~ gave me a kiss, inspired a song now known to millions!
thanks for all your love ~ KAVNA had a profound impact on me. her voice is likely in the intro and close of the Baby Beluga recording.
all tweeting 'babybelugaisdead' headline—wrong!! song's about an imaginary whale. pls a) delete tweet, b) comment on their facebook page.
(Lead Photo courtesy the Vancouver Aquarium)