Vancouver Aquarium dolphin Hana dies despite breakthrough surgery

Dec 19 2017, 11:20 pm

Hana, one of two pacific white-sided dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium, died on Sunday, despite undergoing emergency surgery in attempt to save her life.

It was discovered last week that Hana suffered from gastrointestinal disorder, a condition that did not allow food to pass through her normally.


A team of experts from Colorado, Florida and California helped Hana with her surgery, and she became the first-ever Pacific white-sided dolphin to receive anesthesia, in what was called a breakthrough surgery. She endured several hours of surgery, and was then put in 24-hour care at the aquarium’s medical pool.

“We had the best in the world here with us working through that,” said Dr. Martin Haulena. “She did recover. She was incredibly weak after the surgery which was expected, and then there was a little bit of encouragement.”

Haulena described that there was initial bowel movement that gave hope. Unfortunately, nothing of that sort came again. It was then discovered that loops of bowels and twisted upon themselves, halting blood flow.

Fluids started building up again inside Hana’s bowel, so new therapy methods were tried. Hana passed away just before 7 p.m. on May 24.

Hana had been with the Vancouver Aquarium for 10 years. She was brought in from Enoshima Aquarium in Japan, and had previously endured surgery after a 2003 fishing net incident that left her with injuries.

She was an amazing dolphin, certainly a friend to us,” said Haulena. “Everyone’s devastated, but the silver-lining is that we worked harder than anyone ever has.”

Image: Vancouver Aquarium

Image: Vancouver Aquarium

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

+ News