UPDATE: Qinu began experiencing complications after several hours of labor, and the calf did not make it through delivery.
ORIGINAL STORY (published Nov. 7): A beluga whale is in labor at the Georgia Aquarium.
The expectant mom, Qinu, came to Atlanta via airplane from SeaWorld San Antonio in November 2010, when she was two years old. The aquarium announced the pregnancy — her first — in June.
The beluga whale exhibit, which includes three of the animals, is closed for an indefinite amount of time. The reopening is “dependent on how mom and calf are progressing after the birth,” according to a spokeswoman.
“We want to give them as much privacy as possible to allow for them to bond and nurse,” she said. Staff has hoped for Qinu’s pregnancy for years, and veterinary teams are in place to help her through labor.
The calf’s gender will not be known until after birth.
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It’s been an exciting week at the aquarium. Edith, a sea lion, gave birth to a female pup last week.
Edith and the pup are also off exhibit for the time being, according to Will Elgar, director of pinnipeds, or seals.
“If the pup continues to thrive, there will be a plan to introduce both of them to other female sea lions in a habitat that the public can view,” Elgar said. “Social integrations are an important part of a pup’s life because sea lions are very gregarious animals.”
The pup, who hasn’t yet been named, has been bonding and nursing with her mom.
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Atlanta organizations can always use help from volunteers. Try these organizations: Atlanta Humane Society Lost-n-Found Youth Georgia Aquarium Grant Park Conservancy Meals on Wheels