The star Beluga Whale, named Gasper, had to be put down Tuesday after battling an incurable bone disease.
The whale was given a sedative and a lethal heart-stopping drug at 6:30 a.m., the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“The decision was made yesterday working with our medical team,” aquarium director Jeff Swanagan said. “When you get to this state you know there was no chance for improvement, you make the decisions that you have to make. It was a tough decision, but it was the right decision.”
Gasper was already sick when he was brought to the aquarium from an amusement park in Mexico City. He had not been on public display since April.
The whale had been at the aquarium since Oct. 17, 2005. A press release from the aquarium said that, “Upon arrival, he was severely underweight and had visible skin lesions.”
“We rescued Gasper knowing that he was seriously ill, but were hopeful that we might have been able to save him. The Georgia Aquarium will continue its important 4R Program (Rehabilitation, Relocation, Rescue and Research) to provide the highest quality of life for our inhabitants. To the thousands of people who have sent letters and cards to Gasper over the last year and want to ensure that the Georgia Aquarium will continue to provide caring services, I suggest making a contribution to the Aquarium’s 4R program or becoming annual pass members,” Marcus said.