WATCH: The Vancouver Aquarium’s dolphin, Hana, has died. 12 years ago she was maimed and nearly drowned in a Japanese fishing net. She survived and eventually found a home in Vancouver. But as Linda Aylesworth reports, she died after suddenly becoming sick.
VANCOUVER – Hana, one of two Pacific white-sided dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium, has died after undergoing groundbreaking emergency surgery for a gastrointestinal disorder last week.
The aquarium says Hana died on Sunday evening.
The 21-year-old dolphin underwent surgery last week after it was discovered she had fluid in her abdominal cavity.
The aquarium flew in a team of experts from San Diego, Colorado and Florida. Hana underwent surgery using general anesthesia, the first such procedure performed on a Pacific white-sided dolphin. Dr. Martin Haulena, head veterinarian at the Vancouver Aquarium, said the surgery also marked the first exploratory laparotomy – an incision in the abdomen, and intestinal surgery on a whale or dolphin.
Seven veterinarians were involved in the surgery with more than 40 people helped in total.
Staff believe they did everything they could.
“It was one of those things,” said Haulena on Monday. “Everybody that cared for Hana the longest just happened to be there on that shift.”
“She looked at everyone, took her last breath, and her heart just sort of stopped.”
He said they believe Hana went into endotoxic shock and they will be performing a necropsy to find out what happened.
Hana was rescued in Japan in 2003 and sent to Vancouver in 2005. Helen remains the only Pacific white-sided dolphin at the facility now.
WATCH: Life-saving surgery for Vancouver Aquarium dolphin:
– With files from Canadian Press.