Atlanta (May 14, 2015) – Georgia Aquarium is excited to release the first video of the birth of Maris’ beluga whale calf. The team was able to capture impressive footage of Maris and her calf, which was born at 1:25 a.m. on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10 in the Georgia-Pacific Cold Water Quest gallery.
Shortly after birth, the female calf swam to the surface and took her first breath, an important first milestone. The early stages of the calf’s life is very delicate and the entire team at Georgia Aquarium is excited and remains cautiously optimistic as they monitor the calf through future, critical milestones. These important events include establishment of a mother-calf bond, successful nursing, and species appropriate growth and development. Animal Care and veterinary staff continue to monitor the newborn beluga whale calf 24-hours a day and are encouraged by the calf’s initial condition, behavior, and interactions with her mother. Maris and her calf are currently off display to allow them to focus on each other during this critical phase and to allow the zoological team to closely monitor the animals. For updates, read our blog.
Georgia Aquarium would like to share some exceptional “By The Numbers” facts highlighting the impressive teamwork that has gone into the preparation for the calf’s arrival and highly specialized care of Maris and her calf.
By The Numbers Fact Sheet
- Maris’ labor lasted 3 hours and 18 minutes with the calf’s flukes out
- The average gestation for beluga whales is 467 days
- 17 divers, rotating in and out of the water, logged over 1,200 minutes of dive time in 59 degree water
- 14 Georgia Aquarium departments were involved with labor and delivery, totaling 102 staff members
- 15 total volunteers began 24-hour observation on March 5, 2015 and have devoted over 1,400 hours so far
- Animal care staff saw the fetal calf for the first time on Mother's Day 2014 via ultrasound
- Georgia Aquarium consulted and coordinated efforts with six other zoological facilities
- 126.5 pounds: weight of newborn calf
- 59 inches: length of newborn calf
- 37 inches: girth of the newborn calf
- 12 inches: width of the calf’s fluke
ABOUT GEORGIA AQUARIUM
Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the world’s most dynamic aquariums—containing more than 10 million gallons of water and the largest collection of aquatic animals. The mission of Georgia Aquarium is to be a premier scientific institution delivering an awe-inspiring entertainment experience which supports animal research and conservation; inspires learning; and instills a passion for the aquatic world. Its exhibits and programs are of the highest standards, offering engaging guest encounters that promote the conservation of marine biodiversity throughout the world. Georgia Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For additional information, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org.