In Atlanta, GA yesterday, yet another big fish has gone to Davey Jones’ Locker. According to the Atlanta Journal and Constitution report, an exhaustive eight hour necropsy has revealed no definitive cause of death for Norton, the 3,000 pound whale shark. Tissue samples have been preserved and shipped to various labs across the country for analysis, but the official aquarium statement indicates that their best guess is a condition called “inappetance” [sic.].

Fans of the aquarium will recall that Norton’s buddy, Ralph (another whale shark) died in January. Ralph was found to have a thin-walled and perforated stomach, but both whale sharks had received a routine, preventative treatment for parasites. It is unclear if this treatment was a contributing factor to the deaths, but the aquarium’s other whale sharks were not exposed to the treatment and are showing normal behavior while eating their normal diet.

Although the Georgia Department of Natural Resources monitors the number and type of creatures on display, no official report of death will be filed. The aquarium will simply alter its tally the next time it reports. Now, I’m all for hands-off governance, and the aquarium is a private venture, but residents of the Atlanta metro area are sure to recall just how many financial incentives were offered by the city to secure the Aquarium’s construction. Gosh, the city even outlawed panhandling so that tourists wouldn’t feel uncomfortable walking around downtown. You’d think there would be some sort of splash.

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