Vancouver Aquarium’s 46-year-old whale that inspired the Baby Beluga children’s song has died.
While Beluga whales normally only live to see 25 or 30, Kavna lived through what was probably a cancer that accompanies age, as assumed by an aquarium veterinarian, though further autopsy tests are scheduled.
The Baby Beluga whale welcomed a calf to the world just upon arrival to the aquarium that then died only weeks later.
Baby Beluga writer Raffi Cavoukian knew he had a song when he met Kavna in 1979 and played with her at the aquarium. According to ABC News, Kavna gave Cavoukian a soft kiss he would not forget about for weeks.
Baby Beluga is about a freely living whale in the sea.
Its lyrics are, “Baby beluga in the deep blue sea, swim so wild and you swim so free. Heaven above and the sea below, and a little white whale on the go.”
Kavna lived in the aquarium her entire life. Cavoukian said, “As I like to say, the song set the whale free.”
Cavoukian felt lucky to have the pleasure of meeting Kavna, whose fame rose among the aquarium when Baby Beluga was released.
“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.”
Kavna’s other media credits include her 2006 cameo on the Canadian postage stamps for the aquarium’s 50th anniversary. Throughout her estimated 46 years of life, an estimated 30 million people have visited the Baby Beluga.
The Baby Beluga whale was not the only whale to have passed this week. Another beluga was found washed ashore, but still living, after a storm in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. After extensive care and attention to this baby beluga at the Alaska SeaLife Center, the whale has died.
Cavoukian tweeted of a 30-minute long segment on his experience with Kavna, which aired on CBC TV in 1981.