Baby animals

It's a bouncing baby boy — er, girl — er, beluga!

Aug. 28, 2012 at 4:11 PM ET

Shedd Aquarium / Brenna Hernandez /
A baby beluga calf was born to mom, Mauyak, at about 2 a.m. on Aug. 27 at Shedd Aquarium.

Baby beluga in the deep blue sea,

Swim so wild and you swim so free.

Heaven above and the sea below,

And a little white whale on the go.

As we here at Animal Tracks continue to grieve, with animal lovers everywhere, over the recent death of the beluga whale that inspired Raffi’s timeless children’s song “Baby Beluga,” we are buoyed by this news: A brand new bouncing baby beluga was born this week at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

Is the baby a boy or a girl? Well, ummm, we’re not sure yet. Nobody is. The newborn is being allowed to bond with mom Mauyak (MAH-yak) in a secluded area at Shedd’s Abbott Oceanarium without any physical interaction with human handlers. The baby’s gender won’t be determined until the marine mammal staff thinks the time is right to do a physical examination.

Shedd Aquarium / Brenna Hernandez /
"In less than 24 hours after birth, the calf achieved the first critical milestones that we look for," said Ken Ramirez, executive vice president of animal care and training at Shedd Aquarium.

In the meantime, we know these vital stats about the newborn calf:

  • The baby beluga arrived on the scene at about 2 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 27.
  • The calf is 4 1/2 feet long and weighs about 150 pounds.
  • The new baby is the sixth beluga calf born at Shedd.
  • The newborn has two older siblings also born to Mauyak: Qannik and Miki.
  • Mom Mauyak’s name means “soft snow” in Inuit. She weighs about 1,200 pounds and is about 11 feet long.
  • The newborn’s dad is named Naluark (nah-LOO-ark), and he weighs 2,100 pounds.
Shedd Aquarium / Brenna Hernandez /
The newborn calf is 4 1/2 feet long and weighs about 150 pounds.

So far, the calf seems to be doing well and remains under 24-hour observation by health professionals.

“In less than 24 hours after birth, the calf achieved the first critical milestones that we look for, including taking its first breath, bonding with mom and we’ve seen attempts at nursing,” Ken Ramirez, executive vice president of animal care and training at Shedd, said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor for signs of development, including steady nursing and growth.”

Here are more stunning photos of mom and baby for your viewing pleasure:





Shedd Aquarium / Brenna Hernandez /

Shedd Aquarium / Brenna Hernandez /
Shedd Aquarium / Brenna Hernandez /
Shedd Aquarium / Brenna Hernandez /

TODAY.com writer Laura T. Coffey has these Raffi lyrics in her head: "We're goin' to the zoo, zoo, zoo! How about you, you, you? You can come too, too, too! We're goin' to the zoo, zoo, zoo!" Here’s where to find Laura on Facebook and Twitter.

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RIP Baby Beluga: Whale that inspired kids’ song dies

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