October 22, 2014
Today we are proud to share with you the exciting news that Maris, our 20-year-beluga whale, is expecting a calf in spring 2015! As with any pregnancy, preparations are being made to make the birthing process as comfortable as possible for Maris to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all of the animals.
Dr. Greg Bossart, V.M.D., Ph.D., Georgia Aquarium’s chief veterinary officer and senior vice president says: “Maris is in good health, and her calf appears to be developing normally. We are hopeful for a successful birth, especially since Maris demonstrated strong maternal behavior during her first pregnancy. Chances for a successful birth increase with every beluga whale pregnancy. As with all mammals – especially marine mammals – pregnancy is a delicate process not without risk, so we are guardedly optimistic.”
Leading up to Maris’ due date, Aquarium teams are preparing Maris and the beluga habitat for the delivery. Throughout Maris’ pregnancy, animal health experts are providing state-of-the-art prenatal care, including regular veterinary exams and frequent ultrasounds to monitor her health and the health of her calf. The beluga habitat will also receive some routine maintenance.