Chicago's Shedd Aquarium is finally ready to name their newest baby beluga and is enlisting the public's help.
The aquarium is teaming up with TV station WGN (yeah, these guys) for their “Name the Baby Beluga” contest, in which the voting public can choose from four names selected by Shedd’s marine mammal staff.
According to a press release from the Shedd, the four names under consideration are "derived from the Inuit language spoken by the indigenous people from the North American Arctic region, including Russia and Alaska, where beluga whales are found."
Voting begins Monday at 5 p.m. and — in true Chicago spirit — participants can vote as many times as they want until Thursday, May 2 when the final name is revealed on WGN News at Five.
Meaning: Freshwater ice
Nilak could be the perfect name for the beluga calf. Belugas are one of the only species of whales or dolphins that travel to habitats that are less salty than seawater, like tidal creeks and inlet rivers.
Meaning: Something or someone special
Kimalu is a traditional Inuit name given to someone special; while every whale at the aquarium is special, this is mother Mauyak’s first female calf.
Meaning: Snow for drinking water
Mom Mauyak's name means “soft snow.” Aniuk could be a great fit for the calf—it means “snow for drinking water.”
The meaning of "Anana" describes this graceful and sociable animal. It glides through the water, lends curious gazes and has a mouth that is permanently upturned, just like a smile.
The female whale calf born last August made her debut to the public in October, and has since packed on some extra pounds as she grows. The aquarium's "biggest baby" weighs in at 300 pounds and is six feet, five inches long, according to the Shedd.
WGN isn't the first local news station to have a hand in naming the Shedd's babies: in 2010, ABC Chicago was selected as a partner to help name the whale calf; the public ultimately chose Nunavik (New-na-vik) meaning friendly, beautiful and wild in Inuit.
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