Beluga whales suffer in captivity, Courtney Vail, campaigns and programs manager at WDC, told The Dodo. "[They suffer] from the same physiological and psychological stressors and challenges in captivity as all cetaceans do, including sterile and restricted environments, forced associations, limited choices, transfers between facilities and aggression between pool mates."
Belugas also live far longer in the wild than in captivity. In the wild, belugas can live upwards of 60 years of age, Vail explains, based on research.
Back at the Georgia Aquarium, the beluga exhibit will remain open to the public. A necropsy will be performed on Maris.
The results are expected in a few weeks.