The beluga whale that inspired the famous children's song "Baby Beluga" died on Monday at her home in the Vancouver Aquarium. The whale, which inspired Raffi Cavoukian to write the popular song, was the oldest whale in captivity in North America. She was 46.
Many people heard the lyrics "Baby beluga in the deep blue sea, Swim so wild and you swim so free," but many may not know that the song was inspired by a real whale named Kavna who spent her life at the Vancouver Aquarium. She was the oldest of three beluga whales at the aquarium and she was visited by an estimated 36 million people over her lifetime.
Experts believe Kavna died of cancer. Aquarium veterinarian performed a necropsy which revealed several lesions and tumors. Some were benign but other appeared to be more serious and may be the reason for her deteriorating health a few weeks prior to her death, according to ABC.
Those who worked at the aquarium are sad over the passing of one of their most famous attractions.
In a statement, the aquarium said Beluga whales in the wild are believed to live to about 25 to 30 years old. At approximately 46 years old, Kavna was considered to be at the end of her natural life, and had lived a long and healthy life in the care of the Aquarium's marine mammal care team. The Aquarium's staff and volunteers, especially its marine mammal care team who had been caring for Kavna since 1975, are saddened by this loss but share in the many fond memories experienced with her over the past 36 years."
Songwriter Raffi Cavoukian first met Kavna in 1979, which inspired him to write the classic children's song "Baby Beluga."
Raffi took to Twitter to remember Kavba. "@VancouverAqua just heard the news, sad she's gone. loved meeting her in '79 ~ gave me a kiss, inspired a song now known to millions!" he wrote on Tuesday.
"Thanks for all your love ~ KAVNA had a profound impact on me. her voice is likely in the intro and close of the Baby Beluga recording," he told his fans.
Baby Beluga" was written by Raffi Cavoukian, a popular children's music composer and performer. The song has become a classic recognized by children around the world.
Raffi wanted to make sure his Twitter followers understand that the baby beluga in his famous song was created from his imagination and Kavna wasn't the whale in his song. When he met her, she would have been about 13 years old.
However, there's no doubt Kavna inspired him to write a song about the gentle white whales. He'll never forget the time when Kavna planted a kiss on his cheek, as he says in an interview with CTV.