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