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New baby beluga whale born at Georgia Aquarium

The new whale calf weighed 174 pounds at birth and was 5-feet-4-inches long.

ATLANTA — Officials at the Georgia Aquarium announced Monday that a calf was born last weekend to Whisper, a 20-year-old beluga whale on Sunday, May 17.

Whisper's calf weighed 174 pounds at birth and was 5-feet-4-inches long.

Aquarium officials said Whisper had a long labor, but with assistance from the animal care and health teams at the aquarium, she delivered her calf.

“We are so proud of Whisper and overjoyed to welcome her calf to our Georgia Aquarium family,” said Dennis Christen, Georgia Aquarium's senior director of zoological operations, mammals and birds.

Both Whisper and her calf are getting much-needed rest and time to bond. They are both being monitored around the clock.

There are still milestones for the baby whale calf to achieve over the next few weeks which are important for development and bonding with Whisper.

RELATED: Beluga whale at Georgia Aquarium due to give birth this spring

"Our animal health team is continuing to monitor Whisper and her calf," said Dr. Tonya Clauss, Georgia Aquarium's vice president of animal and environmental health.

The aquarium's other beluga whales, Qinu, Maple, Nunavik and imaq are all doing well. They are all being housed in a separate area of the exhibit space and will be introduced to Whisper and her calf when appropriate.

“This birth is important not only for Georgia Aquarium, but all accredited zoological facilities. Our hope is to sustain the beluga whale population in North America so future generations can learn about them,” said Eric Gaglione, Georgia Aquarium's vice president of zoological operations.

The aquarium remains closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but when the facility reopens, officials said there are a number of factors they will have to consider before opening the beluga whale habitat for public viewing of Whisper and her calf to the public.

There may be periods when the calf will not be visible or when the habitat itself is closed.  

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