Bel­uga whale born in­Hu­nan aquar­ium

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By CHI­NADAILY

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.

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