Sick whale euthanized at Georgia aquarium

Jan. 2, 2007 at 9:44 PM
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ATLANTA, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Gasper, a beluga whale who became a star at the new Georgia Aquarium, was euthanized Tuesday after veterinarians decided a bone disease was incurable.

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.

Bernard Marcus, the Home Depot founder who provided most of the funding for the aquarium, said he and his wife knew the whale was sick when they acquired him. But they hoped that with good medical care he could be rescued.

Gasper was diagnosed with osteomyelitis. He stopped eating a few weeks ago, and his immune system was deteriorating.

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