published Monday, April 16th, 2012

Tennessee Aquarium reports loss of two beluga sturgeons

Staff Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse/Chattanooga Times Free Press - April 12, 2012. Boris, a Beluga Sturgeon, swims in a tank at the Tennessee Aquarium  after being transferred on Thursday, April 12, 2012. Boris weighs 212 pounds and measures approximately seven feet long.
Staff Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse/Chattanooga Times Free Press - April 12, 2012. Boris, a Beluga Sturgeon, swims in a tank at the Tennessee Aquarium after being transferred on Thursday, April 12, 2012. Boris weighs 212 pounds and measures approximately seven feet long.
Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse.
  • Two Tennessee Aquarium sturgeons die
    Two beluga sturgeons died over the weekend at the Tennessee Aquarium, shortly after being moved to a new exhibit, called "River Giants." Upon death aquarium biologists discovered one sturgeon, named "Boris," thought to be a male, was actually a female and likely died after eggs she was carrying had become infected. Biologists believe a second sturgeon, named "Horace," died from kidney failure.

The Tennessee Aquarium has reported its loss of two beluga sturgeons as a result of different health problems.

Communications Manager Thom Benson said in a blog that Boris died on Saturday, Horace on Sunday.

“When the aquarium’s veterinarians performed a post-mortem examination, it appears both animals had been dealing with very different, but very serious health challenges,” Benson said.

The two sturgeons had been moved last week to a new River Giants exhibit that is scheduled to open at the Tennessee Aquarium April 28.

Benson said they had undergone quarantine and a careful move that simply was a tipping point to the fish that had health issues.

In the post-mortem examination, Benson said it was found that Boris “was actually a female sturgeon and had been egg-bound with nearly 17 pounds of roe.”

This situation, he said, appears to have “led to an infection which had taken over this fish’s intestinal tract and was spreading.”

Benson said that Horace’s “right kidney had failed completely due to aging or chronic kidney disease.”

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