Two whale sharks have died in the past six months at the Georgia Aquarium. In January, the aquarium lost Ralph the whale shark to what was later identified as peritonitis, an inflammation in the abdominal cavity, which may have been caused by a feeding tube. Six months later Norton the whale shark also died.
Norton was barely eating for months and was being force-fed. The aquarium believes that both of the giant fish died as a result of not eating, but have yet to identify why they were not eating. They are looking into the use of the chemical Trichlorfon, which was used in the aquarium for parasite removal.
Whale sharks are the world’s biggest species of fish, and can grow as long as 40 feet. The Georgia Aquarium’s Ocean Voyager exhibit is the largest tank in the world, holding over six million gallons.