There’s another new baby at Shedd Aquarium. At about 2 a.m. on Monday, Mauyak gave birth to a 150-pound bouncing baby beluga.
Mom and baby appear to be doing well, Shedd officials said.
“A newborn calf must reach several milestones in its first days and months so we remain cautious; however, the calf has demonstrated incredible progress,” Ken Ramirez, executive vice president of animal care and training at Shedd, said in a news release. “Mauyak is an experienced mom having given birth to two calves in the past, so the labor was quick and went very smoothly.”
Already the calf, determined to be about 4 ½ feet long, has passed its first critical milestones, including taking its first breath, bonding with mom and attempts at nursing, Ramirez said. Mauyak, whose name means soft snow in Inuit, is also mom to Qannik and Miki.
Mauyak, who weighs about 1,200 pounds and is about 11 feet long, and her calf are off exhibit in the Secluded Bay habitat. Shedd’s animal care experts will not interact with them, but will observe them day and night, allowing time for Mauyak to nurture her baby.
Mauyak came to Shedd in 1997 from Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Wash., as part of the aquarium’s involvement in the North American beluga whale breeding cooperative. More than 35 beluga whales are part of the breeding cooperative program and Shedd is home to seven belugas, including the calf.
The baby’s father, 2,100-pound Naluark, is in Connecticut as part of the breeding exchange.
The newborn is the sixth successful birth as part of Shedd’s collaboration in the beluga whale breeding cooperative. The other belugas born at Shedd include Kayavak in 1999; Qannik in 2000; Bella in 2006; Miki in 2007; and Nunavik in 2009.
The new baby comes about three months after the Shedd celebrated the birth of its first Pacific white-sided dolphin.
The coastal walkway of Secluded Bay will be open, but privacy panels are up to give Mauyak and her calf time to bond, Shedd announced.