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Shedd Aquarium's Baby Beluga Thriving In Its First Week

By Samantha Abernethy in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 4, 2012 9:00PM

Last week, the Shedd Aquarium's beluga whale Mauyak gave birth to her third calf, and caretakers say they are both doing well. Mauyak is consuming 65 pounds of fish per day to support her nursing calf.

“Successful nursing is a critical step in the calf’s health and development,” said the Shedd's Ken Ramirez. “Less than seven hours after birth, our animal care team witnessed the calf latch on to nurse; on day two they confirmed that mom was producing milk, noting the white puffs of milk in the water, which indicated that the calf was receiving milk. It is exciting progress, but there are many more milestones ahead that the calf has to reach.”

It's not all eating and pooping—the calf is getting playful, too. Caretakers say the calf "is experimenting with buoyancy, trying to swim upside down and following mom’s
behavior - all positive signs of healthy development for the newborn."

Watch the two swimming in the video below. The Shedd writes: "Mauyak is an experienced mother who keeps an eye on her calf while letting it explore Secluded Bay. But when it looks like the still-wobbly swimmer is too close to a wall, mom deftly deflects it in a smooth move."