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December 15, 2009

Meet Shedd's new baby beluga

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At 6:36 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 14, we welcomed Puiji’s calf into the Shedd family. Mom and calf are doing well.

Puiji and calf_birth1 When Puiji’s behavior changed Sunday, Ken Ramirez, Shedd’s senior vice president of animal collections and training decided to spend the night at the aquarium, joining marine mammals staffers already observing Puiji in Secluded Bay. Around 11:30 p.m., the 23-year-old whale went into labor, at intervals crunching her nearly 11-foot frame to move the process along.

Puiji and calf_birth2 About 4:30 a.m., the calf’s head appeared. Beluga calves almost always enter the world tail first, an adaptation for underwater birth. Divers were ready in case of complications. But with a big push by Puiji, the calf popped out and went to the surface for its first breath. Milestone no. 1 accomplished. Then he began to swim and bond with Mom – milestone no. 2. Early Tuesday morning, he passed the real cliff-hanger milestone and began to nurse. Puiji is an attentive mom, constantly at his side to help him negotiate this new world.

Puiji and calf_birth3 The calf is 5 feet 4 inches long and weighs 162 pounds. To give the little whale the best chance for success, Secluded Bay has been made really secluded, with privacy panels around the pool on the walkway and at the Polar Play Zone underwater viewing windows. But we’ll bring you photos and videos, along with regular updates.
And we’re still waiting for beluga Naya to give birth. So check in early and often.

Posted by Karen Furnweger, web editor

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Congratulations! When can the public see the calf?

Yay! :)

He is soooo cute and looks great! Good job Puiji and staff!!

A beautiful baby. Congrats!

At Shedd Aquarium, animal care is our top priority and right now the best thing we can do for mom and calf is to give them time to bond. Please continue to check the website for updates on when you can visit our new baby beluga in the future. Thank you for your enthusiasm!

How great that you caught the birth, we saw a 10 day old
calf in Toronto Aquarium and
they bragged about how special it was to see a birth.
Thank you for sharing.
Good luck with new baby.

Thank you so much for sending this to us! We were thrilled to see Puji's baby come into the world! I am a Chicago native and was excited to bring my husband and foster sons to the Aquarium when we were there this past summer. It is wonderful to be able to stay connected like this!
Peggy G. Des Moines, IA

What a truly amazing event to share with us!

Dear Puiji,
Congratulations on your new baby! I heard you did natural childbirth (ouch!) and the little fellow is nursing just fine. Just remember to enjoy each and every moment... motherhood is the most scary, exhilarating, tiring and loving job in the world, and I know you'll do great!

Congratulations on your new baby calf. I look forward to visiting in late December. Many thanks for this fabulous video.

Nancy Freeman
UMass Dartmouth

Wow!! How special moment you guys share with us!! Tks so much... Good job!!! What a wonderific video!!

Thanks for sharing this really cool video with all of us! It was amazing to watch! Congrats!

Congratulations on your new baby!!! What a joy to have especially at this time of year.
Merry Christmas too!
McMahan girls

A home waterbirth! Now, that's my kind of birth! :) Congratulations to mother and baby, and to the aquarium staff. I hope the new baby continues to do well!

awesome, and mele kalikimaka, hauoli maka hiki ho ho hou, festival of lights, a new baby is born, joy to our world a week before summer solitice, swim on, in all waves, AAAlllooohhhaaa

Great job Puiji! I can't wait to see the beautiful baby beluga. How amazing the creation of life can be.

I showed the video to my four year old. He yelled excited: "mama, baby whale for me for Christmas...:) Kudos to Puiji and dedicated staff...I can't wait until my other two kids come from school so I can show them video...and of course visit in person shortly..Thank You for sharing with us this great event.. Anna from Romeoville, Il

Oh,the baby's so cute!I love her smile,it's so cute!I think you should name the baby Alisian (a-li-son) if it's a girl, or skittles if it's a boy.

Just Beautiful!

Congratulations, and my best to Puiji! Thanks so much for sharing this amazing video with the world. That baby boy is adorable!

Thank you for sharing. We've been going to the Shedd & seen the mother as she's been growing. Very special!

what a cute little baby!!!

Great news! My wife and I met Puiji last Friday (Beluga Encounter), and she was very gracious and put up with us touching her tongue! Congratulations!

What an exciting event!

Truely a great video & a awe inspiring event.What a beautiful little whale.Hope he gets thru the rough first few day's.Being a scuba diver I have become more appreciative of the beaty in nature,water or on land.

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