BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The National Aquarium is mourning the loss of a beloved member of their ocean-life family, after their eldest Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, Nani, died.

Nani lived in Baltimore for more than 25 years. Staff at the National Aquarium are coping with the loss of a dolphin they say was a star, and died unexpectedly.

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They’re some of the most incredible animals at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

“We did see the dolphins doing tricks,” said one visitor. “Sometimes one jumped out of the water.”

Eight bottlenosed dolphins delight families and give visitors a closer look at marine life. Now the aquarium is mourning the sudden death of 44-year-old Nani.

“She has always been the star,” said Dr. Brent Whitaker, with the National Aquarium. “She’s been the dominant animal in a group of dolphins.”

Dr. Whitaker says it was clear Nani wasn’t feeling well Monday afternoon, and even with emergency veterinary care, she faded fast.

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Staff are still looking into the exact cause of Nani’s death.

“Nani’s 44 years old. She’s an old dolphin. She’s had a long and incredible life with us here at the National Aquarium,” said Whitaker.

Nani came to Baltimore in 1990 as one of the first members of the mammal pavilion. Staff considers here a family member.

Last year, the National Aquarium announced a plan to build an ocean sanctuary for its dolphins by 2020. Sadly, Nani — beloved in her home of Baltimore — did not live to see the sanctuary.

Seven other dolphins still live at the aquarium, including Nani’s son and daughter, Beau and Spirit.

 

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