ATLANTA - The Georgia Aquarium added a new addition over Mother’s Day weekend. Maris, a beluga whale, gave birth to a female calf early Sunday morning.
Shortly after she was born, the baby beluga swam to the surface to take her first breath -- an important milestone for the calf.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">We're elated to announce the arrival of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/belugawhale?src=hash">#belugawhale</a> Maris' new female calf! <a href="http://t.co/1CWxrlMnMY">http://t.co/1CWxrlMnMY</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GABelugaCalf?src=hash">#GABelugaCalf</a> <a href="http://t.co/WTPlXPMIIf">pic.twitter.com/WTPlXPMIIf</a></p>— Georgia Aquarium (@GeorgiaAquarium) <a href="https://twitter.com/GeorgiaAquarium/status/597856675115175937</a></blockquote>
The calf weighs approximately 126 pounds and is 59 inches long. Aquarium staff members are monitoring Maris and her baby 24hours a day.
“Since the moment of birth, our animal care and veterinary teams have been giving around-the-clock care to Maris and her calf, taking every measure possible to ensure that the calf thrives,” said Dr. Gregory Bossart.
The Aquarium has closed the beluga exhibit temporarily “to focus on the comfort and well-being of Maris and her calf.”
The calf has several milestones she must surpass over the next several days and weeks to ensure survival, but the team says it is hopeful for a successful outcome.
The calf’s birth also marks a big milestone for the Georgia Aquarium.
“This birth is significant as it is the first viable calf to be born from parents who were born in human care. Maris was born at the New York Aquarium in 1994, and the father, Beethoven, was born at SeaWorld San Antonio in 1992,” the aquarium said.