Ultrasound reveals beluga whale at Georgia Aquarium is pregnant

The Georgia Aquarium revealed today that their Beluga whale is pregnant! According to WSB-TV in Atlanta, the 20-year-old whale named Maris is expected to give birth sometime in Spring 2015.

Maris has given birth once before in 2012. But the baby suffered from multiple medical conditions and died shortly after. Doctors at the aquarium are optimistic that the whale's second birth will be successful and healthy.

"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," Dr. Greg Bossart, chief veterinary officer and senior vice president said on the aquarium's blog.

The pregnancy announcement is welcome news, as there are fewer than 35 beluga whales in human care in North America. Aquarium officials are preparing Maris' habitat for delivery, and are providing the whale with state-of-the-art prenatal care, including veterinary exams and frequent ultrasounds to ensure the health of Maris and her calf.
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