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May 12, 2009

Oceanarium Animal Homecoming

After nearly nine months “on vacation,” our beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins and Alaska sea otters are back home. We’ve also welcomed new animals to the Oceanarium family, including two California sea lions, temperate-weather penguins, a new Pacific white-sided dolphin and a variety of Pacific Northwest fishes and invertebrates.

Animal care is our top priority. Whether they were moved by road, by air, or by a combination of the two, all of the animals traveled safely and quickly, thanks to careful planning and the training we did with them before they were moved.

Here are highlights of their journey back to Shedd.

How do you transport seven beluga whales, two Pacific white-sided dolphins, and two California sea lions? By FedEx, of course. Thanks to some help from the world’s largest cargo carrier, FedEx planes brought Shedd’s precious cargo back to Chicago.

Excited marine mammal trainers form a joyous welcoming committee as the animals arrive.

The beluga whales are lowered into a pool behind the scenes at Shedd.

One of the Pacific white-sided dolphins is introduced to a new pool in the Oceanarium.

Shedd welcomes two California sea lions from Washington state as part of a relocation plan to protect endangered salmon on the West Coast. One of them gets his first look at his new home from behind the scenes.

New to the penguin habitat are temperate-weather Magellanic penguins.

Shedd’s Alaska sea otters, one of which is an Exxon Valdez oil spill survivor, have returned from their “vacation” at the Minnesota Zoo.

Join us on May 23, when Shedd reopens the Oceanarium with a weekend-long celebration.

Posted by Jay Geneske, web editor
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I'm so glad all of the animals are back. Were the moms and calves in cradles next to each other?

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