2-Year-Old Whale Dies At SeaWorld After Living Her Short Life In A Tank

A beluga whale named Stella died Friday at SeaWorld San Antonio. She was just two years old.

"We appreciate your support for Stella's trainers and care staff, who are dealing with the loss of one of our family," SeaWorld said in the statement announcing Stella's death.

This comes just a few months after another beluga whale died at the same SeaWorld Park, back in July, at just three weeks old. Both beluga whales had been born in captivity.

While the exact cause of death is still unknown, early death of beluga whales seems to be becoming a matter of course in captivity. The mortality rate among baby belugas in captivity is 65 percent. Belugas who survive captivity long enough to become adults still don't live long, often dying before reaching 30, unlike their wild counterparts who can live to age 60, though we don't know their average life expectancy.

Naomi Rose, Ph.D., a marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute, told The Dodo back in July that whenever a captive-born cetacean calf dies, she suspects the effects of captivity are a factor.

"The facilities have corporate reasons for insisting captivity has nothing to do with these deaths and refuse to conduct the necessary, objective science to truly understand mortality risk for captive-born calves," she said.

According to PETA, Stella is the 13th beluga whale to die at SeaWorld San Antonio alone.