Trixie, Georgia Aquarium’s beloved female whale shark, dies

ATLANTA — Officials at the Georgia Aquarium were in mourning Friday after announcing the death of Trixie, the facility’s largest female whale shark.

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The whale shark had been a fixture at the Atlanta tourist venue since 2006, WSB-TV reported.

“She was having difficulty navigating the habitat earlier in the day and then her health rapidly declined,” Georgia Aquarium officials said in a Facebook post. “Even after exhaustive veterinary and animal care efforts, she ultimately passed away.”

We are saddened to say our largest female whale shark, Trixie, passed away today, November 27. She was having difficulty...

Posted by Georgia Aquarium on Friday, November 27, 2020

According to the Georgia Aquarium’s website, the whale shark is the largest fish in the world. It averages between 18 and 32.8 feet, with the longest accurately measured animal coming in at 61.7 feet.

They are listed as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

In 2006, Trixie and another female whale shark were flown more than 8,000 miles from Taipei, Taiwan, on a specially configured freighter, WSB reported. The aquarium currently has three other whale sharks.

Despite their large size, whale sharks live on a diet of small prey that includes tiny shrimp, krill, fish eggs, sardines and anchovies, CNN reported.

Threats to whale sharks include entanglement in fishing nets, boat strikes, ingestion of marine debris and microplastics, the network reported.

Whale sharks can live up to 130 years, but it was unclear how old Trixie was, WSB reported.

“Loss is inevitable, but that does not make it any less painful,” aquarium officials wrote on Facebook. “We are so proud to have been stewards of her care for 15 years. We will miss you, Trixie.”

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