Healthy Beluga Whale Calf Born At Shedd Aquarium

July 04, 2019 - 6:37 pm
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Video credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Sam Cejtin

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Shedd Aquarium happily announces its latest arrival! 

The Shedd Aquarium announced Thursday that Mauyak, a 38-year-old beluga whale gave birth to a healthy calf on Wednesday, July 3 at 7:23 p.m.

According to the Shedd, the entire birthing process – from the emergence of the baby’s flukes to complete delivery – took a total of 33 minutes. Both mother and calf are progressing well and will remain under 24-hour observation by Shedd’s animal care team for several months.

The Shedd Aquarium announced Thursday that Mauyak, a 38-year-old beluga whale gave birth to a healthy calf on Wednesday, July 3 at 7:23 p.m.
©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

The Shedd Aquarium also said the calf is already reaching important milestones like swimming, bonding, and nursing. The unnamed calf swam to the surface and took its first breath, shortly after birth with the assistance and support of its mother. 

“This is a humbling and fulfilling moment for our animal care teams, who have been preparing Mauyak for her big delivery for more than a year,” said Peggy Sloan, chief animal operations officer at Shedd, in a statement. “Every pregnancy and birth brings significant information for both populations in accredited aquariums and their endangered counterparts in the wild.”

Since birth, Mauyak and her calf have been swimming together, as the mother guides the new arrival around its home. The sex of the calf has yet to be determined. Animal care estimates the calf to be approximately 5 feet in length and to weigh approximately 150 pounds.

The Shedd Aquarium announced Thursday that Mauyak, a 38-year-old beluga whale gave birth to a healthy calf on Wednesday, July 3 at 7:23 p.m.
©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

“After the successful delivery, we are supporting Mauyak and watching her do what she’s proven she does best – caring for her new calf,” said Steve Aibel, senior director of marine mammals at Shedd, in a statement. “Mauyak now begins the process of bonding and nursing with her new calf.  During this time, we will be watching closely 24-7 and gathering data on important beluga calf developmental milestones to share with the scientific community at large.”

This is the second birth for Mauyak. Her last calf, Kimalu, was born in 2012. Kimalu was previously the most recent beluga whale birth at Shedd, making this recent birth the first beluga calf to be born at the aquarium in seven years. 

The Shedd Aquarium will continue to post updates on the calf and its mother, Mauyak, on their websiteFacebook page, and Twitter feed.