Georgia Aquarium Welcomes Beluga Whale Calf
The calf was born Sunday, May 17th to a 20-year-old adult beluga named Whisper, who has lived at Georgia Aquarium since early 2019. For more details, watch WHISPER GIVES BIRTH on Animal Planet GO.
The Georgia Aquarium has welcomed a new beluga whale calf to the family!
The calf was born Sunday, May 17th at 3:17P ET, and is 174 pounds and five feet, four inches long, according to the aquarium.
Whisper, a 20-year-old beluga whale, is the calf’s mother. She delivered her young following a pregnancy that was estimated to have lasted between 14 and 15 months.
“Since the birth of the calf, it’s been really fun to watch the maternal bonds develop between Whisper and her newborn calf,” said Dennis Christen, Senior Director of Zoological Operations, Mammals and Birds. “And for the calf to start exploring, we’re really excited and pleased with the progress that we’ve seen so far.”
The 8-day-old calf weighs 174 pounds and is five feet four inches long, according to Georgia Aquarium. By the time the calf reaches full maturity in a few years, it can reach anywhere between 1,100 to 2,500 pounds and 11 to 15 feet.
Including Whisper, the Georgia Aquarium is home to four other adult beluga whales: Imak, Qinu, Nunavik, and Maple. Whisper and Imak only arrived at Georgia Aquarium in February of 2019 but wasted no time integrating themselves with the group. They exhibited "natural behaviors like hierarchical social cues, play, and even breeding and courtship behaviors,” according to the aquarium.
Beluga whales are considered to be gregarious and social animals who commonly live in groups, known as pods. They’re also known to possess a vast array of vocalizations, leading them to be referred to as “sea canaries,” according to Georgia Aquarium.
Outside of their Atlanta facility, the Georgia Aquarium works directly with beluga whales in the wild. Since 2007, the aquarium has partnered with other facilities to conduct field research on beluga whales in Bristol Bay, Alaska, where the species population faces significant threats to their environment.