The last of the Beluga whales born in the past five years at the Georgia Aquarium, is having difficulties feeding and stopped gaining weight. For the time being, she is fighting for her life. Beluga whales born in captivity are a rare sight to behold and so, understandably the health problems of the latest born calf, is causing much reason for concern for the officials working at the Aquarium.
The baby Beluga was born last month, on May 10, and it has had problems with nursing and with gaining weight since birth, however during the last few days, she has stopped feeding altogether and she stopped gaining weight.
Although the best experts in veterinary medicine have tried to come up with a solution to get the whale to start feeding again, it was to no avail. Since birth they tried helping the baby whale by supplementing the milk, the baby Beluga was getting from its mother, with formula in order to help the calf gain more weight, but the results were far from satisfactory.
The newborn`s state is said to be “extremely guarded” and aquarium workers alongside veterinary experts, are keeping a close eye on the Beluga`s evolution and they are working non-stop to get the whale to start feeding again and to start gaining weight.
The Georgia Aquarium have been mostly successful when it comes to breeding new Belugas and they helped increase the number of this species with six new members in the past five years.
The mother of the baby whale, named Maris, has had another similar incident in 2012, when she gave birth to another calf that died after just a short while. Both the mother and the father of the baby Beluga were born in captivity, Maris was born at the New York Aquarium in 1994 and Beethoven, the father, was born in 1992 at the SeaWorld San Antonio.
The baby Beluga, which now weighs 126 pounds, represents a milestone for aquarium experts everywhere and her survival is of outmost importance, given the fact that this is the first Beluga calf to be born from parents who were also born in captivity.
The Beluga whale, also known as the white whale, is an endangered species in some regions and in other parts of the world they are considered to be near-threatened. The Belugas live in the Arctic or sub-Arctic regions and they often have only one offspring.
The young Beluga calves are grayish in color and their skin gets whiter as they reach adulthood. They migrate in groups of various density, ranging from 2-3 members to several hundreds. They are social creatures and mostly opportunistic eaters.
People living in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions have been hunting the white whale for centuries because they can grow to reach 18 feet and 4,200 lbs, making them a bountiful reward. All the hunting and the restriction of habitat, has led their numbers to steadily decline for the past hundred of years.
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