Second beluga calf
UPDATE Dec. 22: Shedd Aquarium is deeply saddened to announce the loss of the beluga whale calf born Sunday afternoon to 20-year-old Naya. Puiji’s calf, born on Monday, December 14, continues to progress well through his bonding and nursing milestones. Read more.
At 2:25 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 20, one of Shedd Aquarium’s beluga whales, Naya, successfully gave birth to a male calf, with physical assistance from Shedd’s animal health and animal care experts. It is the first time a beluga whale calf has been successfully birthed with human assistance at Shedd, and only the fourth known in the zoo and aquarium community.
This assisted birth put all of our research, knowledge and experience of beluga births to the test, and we are pleased at the successful outcome. Without our physical intervention, this calf might not be with us today. Animal care is our top priority at Shedd and once again our expert animal care and animal health staff proved our commitment to do whatever it takes in providing the best care for our amazing animals. I’m extremely proud of our team.
This is the second successful beluga birth within a week at Shedd, as Puiji successfully gave birth to a male calf last Monday. Over the past 24-hours, Shedd animal care and animal health experts have been closely monitoring both mom and calf, along with Puiji and her calf.
The newborn calf was separated briefly from Naya for observations, but has been reunited with her this morning. There are still several milestones the calf must reach in its first days and months. Because of the unique nature of the birth and the milestones ahead, we continue to remain cautiously optimistic as the next few days are extremely critical in the calf’s life. Now that mom and calf are together again, we are watching closely for bonding and nursing to take place. We are doing everything possible to care for both calf and mom.
During a physical, our animal health staff determined the calf is a male, is 5’6” in length, and weighs 152 pounds.
Naya and calf, along with Puiji and her newborn calf, are currently off exhibit where they will continue to receive the very best care. In addition, the majority of the beluga whales are currently off exhibit, except for those appearing in Shedd’s newest marine mammal show, Fantasea.
Stay tuned for updates on both of Shedd’s newest beluga whales.
Posted by Ken Ramirez, animal collections and training