Kavna, the beluga whale who was Raffi’s inspiration for the popular children’s song “Baby Beluga,” died this week at the Vancouver Aquarium. She was 46 years old, which is much older than the average beluga whale generally lives.
A preliminary autopsy showed that Kavna likely died of cancer, says aquarium veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena. Further tests are planned so as to rule out possible causes of death like bacteria and fungi, just in case. Two other beluga whales still live at the aquarium, a mother/daughter tandem named Aurora and Qila.
Singer Raffi Cavoukian famously visited the aquarium in 1979 and was inspired to write his song “Baby Beluga.” He tells local Vancouver station 1130, “Kavna even came out of the water and placed a gentle, graceful kiss on my cheek and I couldn’t stop talking about it for a couple weeks.”
And Raffi tweets, “Kavna & me in1980. in ’81 CBC TV did a 30min special: Raffi, Belugas & Friends. note Baby Beluga button,” along with the picture below.