June 12, 2007 / 12:27 AM / 11 years ago

Pascualita, Mexico's rescued baby whale, dies

MEXICO CITY, June 11 (Reuters) - A baby killer whale at the center of an international animal trafficking controversy has died at an aquarium in Mexico because it lacked its mother’s milk after becoming stranded on a Pacific beach.

Owners of the aquarium had warned that the whale, who they named Pascualita, would die if she were not sent abroad because there was no tank in Mexico big enough to hold her and she could not fend for herself at sea.

But the government and environmentalists opposed a move from the aquarium in Nueva Vallarta because they feared it would set a precedent of animal trafficking from Mexico.

Mexico’s environment agency said on Monday that the whale, also known as an orca, died on Sunday, two months after becoming stranded on the beach, because her immune system failed to develop due to a lack of milk and she was attacked by infection.

The aquarium owners had wanted to send the whale to SeaWorld, an aquatic theme park in San Diego, California, which is home to seven other killer whales that live in a 7 million gallon (26.5 million litre) tank.

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