Chicago aquarium officials determine sex of Beluga calf

At 10:32 p.m. on Friday, May 18, 2012 Maris, one of Georgia Aquarium's resident beluga whales, successfully gave birth to her first calf. Shortly after birth, the calf took its first breath with the assistance of two divers, and then attempted to swim with its mother. The calf showed signs that it was not strong enough to navigate on its own, so Aquarium animal care and veterinary experts made the decision to intervene in order to provide the best care possible for the calf. The calf is under 24-hour care, and Aquarium experts currently list it in critical condition.

CHICAGO, Ill. – Officials with Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium say a Beluga whale calf born less than two weeks ago is male.

The aquarium’s animal care team confirmed the calf’s sex during a recent health exam.

The baby whale and its mother are under 24-hour observation as the calf continues to grow and nurse. Aquarium officials say the data collected from the observation is shared with others who study wild beluga whale populations.

The 38-year-old beluga, Mauyak (MY-yak), delivered earlier this month . Her calf was the first beluga calf at the lakefront aquarium in seven years.

Shedd officials say shortly after the birth, the calf swam to the surface and took its first breath. Animal care experts estimate the calf was about 5 feet (1.5 meters) long and weighed about 150 pounds (68 kilograms) at birth.

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