Yes, Maris has given birth to the first Beluga whale calf to be born to parents who were both born in captivity. The calf was born in the Georgia Aquarium on Friday May 18, 2012 shortly after 10:30pm. We knew about it a little bit earlier, but at the Georgia Aquarium we like to allow our benefactor, Bernie Marcus, to make the important announcements to the media when the time is appropriate. It has been released, and we can discuss! Below is what I know, and a link to the official press release .
Currently, the calf is actually in critical condition receiving first class care around the clock by the best veterinary staff and aquarium experts. First-time pregnancies are very often unsuccessful with beluga whales no matter if the first-born calf is born in the wild or in a zoological setting.
When the calf was born it took its first breath, but needed the assistance of divers that were immediately on hand and in the water to help. The calf then tried to swim with her mother, Maris, and it was immediately apparent that the calf was just too weak to navigate the waters. The Aquarium staff took over and placed the calf in critical care and performed a physical exam. It was then that they found the flukes had not hardened on the calf and that it weighed only 82 pounds, much less than an average beluga calf.
The mother, Maris, is doing well, and the calf is getting the best 24-hour care that it can possibly receive. You can read the official press release and get updates via Georgia Aquarium’s blog. Until further notice, the beluga exhibit will be temporarily closed to the public to allow for the veterinary and animal care staff at the Georgia Aquarium to completely focus on the comfort of Maris and her new beluga calf.