On May 25, 2020 anot so little bundle of joy was delivered to the Georgia Aquarium.
Weighing in at a mere 174 pounds at birth and measuring five feet four inches in length, the 'little' calf is doing well.
Whisper is the proud 20-year-old beluga whale who gave birth to the calf. As of yet, the calf is unnamed but we do know that it's a girl!
“We are so proud of Whisper and overjoyed to welcome her calf to our Georgia Aquarium family,” said Dennis Christen, senior director of zoological operations, mammals and birds at Georgia Aquarium. “We will be there right alongside the calf as it continues to grow and learn from Whisper.”
Whisper had a long labour, but was able to deliver her calf with the help of Georgia Aquarium's animal care and health teams. Whisper and her calf are currently getting some rest and bonding. The next few weeks are going to be a crucial time for the little whale and they are being monitored around the clock.
According to LiveScience , Whisper was most likely pregnant for between 14 to 15 months. Baby beluga whales are born gray but turn white as they mature.
Dr. Tonya Clauss, vice president of animal and environmental health at Georgia Aquarium stated, “Our animal health team is continuing to monitor Whisper and her calf. The coming weeks are important for the calf’s development and there are milestones to meet so we’re giving mom and calf all the support and time they need.”
“This birth is important not only for Georgia Aquarium, but all accredited zoological facilities. Our hope is to sustain the beluga whale population in North America so future generations can learn about them,” said Eric Gaglione, vice president of zoological operations at Georgia Aquarium. “Throughout Whisper’s pregnancy we tracked important data about beluga whale gestation that could hopefully make informed conservation decisions about belugas in the wild and their offspring.”
The Georgia Aquarium is home to four other beluga whales who are homed in a seperate area until they can be introduced to Whisper and her calf appropriately. That being said, Qinu, Maple, Nunavik, and Imaq are all doing well.