A female bottlenose dolphin has died at a Shizuoka Prefecture aquarium only weeks after breaking a national record of more than four decades in human care, an official said Thursday.
Nana, thought to be around 47 years old, was discovered drowned on Tuesday at a natural cove of Shimoda Aquarium, official Kiyoshi Sakamoto said.
The death came less than a month after Nana reached 42 years and 10 months under human care, beating the previous record held by another dolphin at Kamogawa Sea World in Chiba Prefecture.
The aquarium will conduct an autopsy on the dolphin as the exact cause of its death could not immediately be established, said Sakamoto, adding that Nana had recently lost her appetite.
Many bottlenose dolphins die between the ages of 10 and 15 years.
Nana, which drew media attention after breaking the record, was given an award and special residence certificate by the city of Shimoda last month.
“Nana was a symbol of our aquarium and had attracted a lot of fans with her cute behavior,” Sakamoto said.
“We will miss her so much,” he said, adding that the facility is considering holding a ceremony in the dolphin’s memory.
Nana was captured off the coast of Ito in 1974 and had lived at the aquarium ever since. She gave birth to eight calves while also taking part in dolphin shows, the official said.