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.