Beluga whale born inHunan aquarium
Changsha Underwater World in Hunan province is the home of a new baby beluga whale, the aquarium announced on Thursday.
The baby beluga whale, born at 1:14 pm on Wednesday, is about 1.5 meters long and weighs 40 kg. The male calf is the first white whale ever born in a Chinese aquarium.
The aquarium posted several pictures of the birth of the calf on its micro blog, garnering thousands of online fans for the new arrival.
The mother whale, named Zhuoya, was in labor for five hours after her 15-month pregnancy, the aquarium said.
The aquarium didn’t release the name of the calf.
Typically, white whales give birth to a single calf every three years, and the gestation period is 14 to 15 months.
In a video released online by netizen Liusi0511, the calf emerged tail-first before the whole body slid into the water.
The calf’s parents were sent to the aquarium separately in 2010 from Russia, said Xiao Yong, director of the aquarium’s animal training department. The whales were a couple in Russia, he added. But after their sixmonth separation, the two didn’t “have a crush” on each other anymore when they were reunited in Changsha that October, Xiao said, adding that the aquarium tried to get the two mated in 2011 but failed.
Zhouya became pregnant in July when she was 8 years old and her mate was 20.
Monogamous beluga whales live in the icy waters of the Arctic and sub-Arctic. Anadult beluga can grow to 3 to 5.5 meters, weighing 700 to 1,600 kg.
A study by R.E.A. Stewart in 2006 estimated they can live 70 to 80 years.